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Full text of "Omni Magazine (July 1991)"




VOL. 13 NO. 10 







8 I 


First Word 


By Roald Sagdeev | 

^^^^^2k9h H5 

By W. E- Gutman 

The tight of glasnost has 

If it's three o'clock, this 

revealed a 

must be Spain: 

Soviet space program 

Travelers will zoom in 

badly in need I 

comfort through 

of rejuvenation. Butthe ' 

Europe on a high-speed 

Soviet Union's 

rail network 

■ economic crisis, warns 

now on the drawing board. 

this ex-Soviet 


space official, may force 

^^^^H r* ' * ■** Aw^^m ^mm 

the public to ! 

^^^^^ ^^k 


choose between food i 

rJJ\'<& \^ "-. ^^| 

By Shari Rudavsky 

and rochets. | 

The world's oldest living 


giant trees 

^p> v^ ^^^w^&' ^B'^H 

stand deep in a Chilean 


1 lH L TJl 

forest, but their 

The Who's Who \ 


days may be numbered. 

of contributing authors ; ' 



^Bk'^I b^ *-^ 


Communications i 

By Patricia 

Readers' writes 

^^HkB ^1 ■ ' ■■ ^H ' 



^■mwI !■ 

The profits 

^^ : ' 5/Hf^k^H 

from Project Solar Sail 



will help send 

By Jerry Grey 

solar sails to the moon. 

Having mastered the art 

HkkWH ft»'U 1 


of gradually 

cornering vulnerable 

^^k ^^l 



Vindicating vegetarianism: 

markets, Japan turns its 

Do we still dream eagerly ol space travel? Of great vessels 

; beware the 

attention to the 

voyaging between worlds and among the 

monster sand dunes; 

commercial space arena 

stars? Cover artist Chris Moore certainly has such dreams 

the toilet 

It's learned 

Where are Moore's spacecraft bound? Hard 

plunger— out of the 

fiow to be a contender 

to say. But at least they are unbound by gravity, their great 

bathroom and 


energies free ta.strairt toward distant 

into the operating room; 

being a big spender. 

frontiers. (Additional art and photo credits, page 84) 

and more. 



^■h ^m^M^m 


Rim Shots 

W^ - m ! 

■r ' Vm 


By Tom Dworetzky 

■ V 1 


A UFO unites 


w^L w 

^ ?w 

contentious Belgium; 

too remote for the 

r i 

, ># I 

vampire bats 


& #i 

may be moving to Florida, 

program, the Pacific 

1 *' 

— *• /2k 

but they're not 

Rim has 

retiring; a modern-day 

become the hotspot 
for spaceports 

Dracula and 

the original's stolen ring; 

in the works. But a boom 

and more. 

in space 



launches in the Pacific 

could sound the 

\ - 

Star Tech 

death knell for the U.S. 

■ <~ ^^M 


Tools for the 

space industry. 


twenty- first century 



^■^""^^ ~"^m 


The Greenhouse Effect: 

Video Games 

Apocalypse Now 

By Bob Lindstrom 

or Chicken Little? 

A look at the new game 

By Robert Silverberg 

systems shows 

While the 

that undisputed champion 

■ scientists predict that the 

Nintendo has 

most drastic 

some -serious challengers, 

results of the greenhouse 

The quality and 

effect won't 

availability of games will 

be lelt for some years, 


a lot of 

-...^.' .'■-:i.-\^:'[ l :i''itr-.. 

which systems can go 

people are already getting 

hot under 

the collar. Taking a look 

1 ' 1 ■ .'■ ! ■■> ■ ■ i I.I'.' |, .'iOTi. 

the distance. 


at the planet's 
periodic climate changes 

.■.v.,!, 1 ■il.'l ■■,■ .1 ,.■■■.'..■ : .<. . ■ :■ '.^.^L^ie:'.^ 

tiST-vl,.;"^".*- 1 "^ ■^,iv '..W.Ii'f l^i.T j.'.wi. ,'. -■■■■r,- i\,i± '-':\>'r t U'.'.<- VW^'CV.J, 


By Scot Morris 

might help 

Wi -v-^ 

At a puzzle 

them — and the earth- 

convention, enthusiasts 

cool down. 

62 67 

display the 


latest unconventional 

Interview Fiction: Stigmata 


Pictorial: Lost Ark 

By Kathleen McAuliffe By Robert Frazier 


By Sandy Fritz 

W. French Deep in the 

Where the wild things 

Anderson has not only tangled, vibrant rain forest, 

Last Word 

are: Drawing 

unlocked many a man 

By Stan Sinberg 

the animals one by one. 

ol the secrets locked in struggles to escape his 

There are no new ideas, 

Dugald Stermer 

DNA, he has memories of 

only old radio 

creates a naturalistic 

also put them to ' a lost love and searches 

waves masquerading as 

Noah's Ark. 

practical use. fortruth. 

new ideas. 


Spaceward Ho! 

By Ben Bova and Stephen L. Gillett 
The covered wagons may look a little different, but we'll 

settle space much the same way we did the 

Western frontier— with the government leading the way. 

Private industry will need federal help to develop 

space, just as it did to build the West's railroads and dams. 



The people and their deputies hold the key to the USSR's initiatives 

By Roald Sagdeev 

Roald Sagdeev 

is former 

director of the 

Institute for Space 

The emergence of glasnosl, sur- 
prisingly, made space exploration 
one of the fields most vulnerable 
to criticism in the Soviet Union. For 
several decades, since the launch- 
ing of the first artificial earth sat- 
ellite, space activities were con- 
sidered to be extremely success- 
ful in the Soviet Union. Yet in the 
years since perestroika, political 
leaders have used space re- 
search as an example of how the 
Soviet system has failed. 

There are a variety of explana- 
tions for this paradox. First, when 
the Soviet people rejected the leg- 
acies of the stagnant Brezhnev 
era, we automatically rejected ev- 
erything from that time in history, 
including some of our successes. 

In addition, after leading polit- 
ical figures abandoned the Sovi- 
et space agenda several years 
ago, space efforts slowly eroded. 
As talented builders and enthu- 
siastic scientists withdrew from 
the space program, conceptual 
and intellectual leadership fell in- 
to the hands of party clerks and 
bureaucrats. The assessment of 
space vehicles was then per- 
formed behind closed doors by 
a few people, people who made 
bad decisions. The clearest ex- 
ample of party bureaucracy was 

the decision to develop the Bur- 
an system, practically a copy of 
the American shuttle program. 

It is now common knowledge 
that more than half of the Soviet 
space budget goes to the military 
space industry. The balance 
goes to Buran, the civil space in- 
dustry, and to space research. 
The budget for research projects 
in space, unfortunately, is on the 
order of one, or one and a half, 
percent of the entire annual 
space budget. In addition, the 
budget for Soviet civil space sci- 
ence is no more than one tenth of 
the U.S. space budget, 

During the last 10 or 15 years, 
the primary goal for those scien- 
tists still involved in the space pro- 
gram was merely to survive; no 
great accomplishments were 
made because there was no op- 
portunity for achievement. 

However, astronautics opened 
up wide avenues in some areas 
of science. We can now study the 
solar system with sensitive 
probes and launch increasingly 
powerful and complicated tele- 
scopes into orbit. Although rock- 
et carriers have become increas- 
ingly varied, and we have devised 
ways to send heavy vehicles out 
of the atmosphere surrounding 
the earth, in no way did the Sovi- 
et space program succeed in fulfill- 
ing the potential of astronautics. 
We dragged our feet around Ve- 
nus for 15 years, and thanks only 
to the continued enthusiasm of 
some scientists and researchers, 
we encountered Halley's Comet. 

At the end of the Seventies and 
the beginning of the Eighties, the 
location designated for a Soviet 
meteorological satellite, under the 
international program for meteo- 
rological observation, remained 
empty. As a consequence, this lo- 
cation was eventually reassigned 
to an American satellite. And to 
'date we cannot compete on the 
world market with scanning de- 

vices like those used in the inter- 
national system such as Landsat 
or the French Spot. 

What steps should be taken to 
improve and utilize the Soviet 
space initiative? Personally, I 
think that under no circumstanc- 
es can the Buran program ever 
be economically profitable. I be- 
lieve that in the next few decades, 
any multiuse space transport will 
not be able to seriously compete 
with one r use rockets. 

To accelerate financing of the 
program, when the country is in 
the throes of economic crisis, is 
impossible. Further imposing this 
unreasonably expensive program 
on the people can only accelerate 
the negative attitude that has de- 
veloped in regard to astronautics 
in the eyes of the public. 

A dramatic change must oc- 
cur. Discussion of space policy 
must no longer be limited to a few 
government personnel, or even to 
the scientific or military commu- 
nities. The Soviet commitment to 
space must move to the corridors 
of the Deputy Assembly and Su- 
preme Soviet, where the people's 
elected deputies can contribute 
to decisions regarding the Soviet 
Union's future in space. 

We should open up the Soviet 
space program to public scrutiny; 
show the people what it contains 
and let them weigh the pros and 
cons. When given the opportuni- 
ty to influence decisions import- 
ant to the economy and to sci- 
ence, the people will undoubted- 
ly make choices worthy of the 
country that launched the first sat- 
ellite into space. 

The exploration of space is a 
valuable endeavor, but the time 
has come for us to think seriously 
about the fact that today supply- 
ing the country with badly need- 
ed essentials such as food and dis- 
posable syringes may be more im- 
portant than creating new space 
rockets. DO 



Our intrepid writers say aloha to the mainland, 

seeking otherworldly ports of call 

mot only will space explor- 
ation evolve into an inter- 
national commercial ven- 
ture, .but missions may very likely 
launch from Pacific Rim space- 
ports. Indeed, efforts underway in 
Australia, Hawaii, Japan, and oth- 
er Pacific locations will eliminate, 
or at least reduce, bureaucratic 
red tape. "Space exploration is 
too big a challenge for any single 
nation," says Omni contributing ed- 
itor Tom Dworetzky ("Rim 
Shots," page 34). "And develop- 
ing space programs in the Pacif- 
ic will help free the human migra- 
tion to space." Envying Toyohiro 
Akiyama, the Japanese journalist 
who joined the cosmonauts 
aboard the Soviet. space station 

From top, Shari 
Kathleen McAu- 
liffe, Tom 
Dworetzky, and 
W. E. Gutman. 

Mir, Dworetzky proclaims that 
he'd be the first person in any em- 
igration line and wouldn't care 
what country's flag was pinned to 
the spacecraft. 

President of the Science Fiction 
Writers of America (SFWA), Ben 
Bova ("Spaceward Ho!," page 
42) is a former president of the Na- 
tional Space Foundation, and for- 
mer Omni editorial director. Tor 
Books recently published the pa- 
perback edition of Bova's novel- 
Orion in the Dying Time. Geolo- 
gist Stephen L. Gillett ("Space- 
ward Hoi," page 42) has written 
numerous scientific papers and 
contributed to the pages of the sci- 
ence-fiction digest Analog. 

Science-fiction author Robert Sil- 
verberg ("The Greenhouse Effect: 
Apocalypse Now or Chicken Lit- 
tle?," page 50) has written numer- 
ous nonfiction books on topics 
ranging from archaeology to the 
global climate. His most recent 
novels include The New Spring- 
time (Warner) and Nightfall (Dou- 
bleday), a collaborative effort 
with Isaac Asimov. 

When writer Kathleen McAu- 
liffe and her sister tackled the pos- 
sibilities of genetic engineer- 
g in their 1981 book, 
Life for Sale (Coward 
McCann & Geohe- 
gan), gene therapy 
considered afar- 
fetched idea. In this 
month's Interview 
(page 62), however, 
McAuliffe speaks 
j& with the first sur- 
Wk geon to treat hu- 
K| mans wilt; gcncl- 
' ically altered 
cells. McAuliffe is 
former senior writ- 
for U.S. News and 
World Report. Her work 
has also appeared in 
Reader's Digest, The 
New York Times Maga- 
zine, and others. 

While researching Earth's vanish- 
ing paradises for Omni's Septem- 
ber 1990 issue, Omni contributing 
editor Shari Rudavsky (Earth, 
page 18) stumbled upon an orga- 
nization working to preserve Chi- 
le's little-known temperate rain for- 
est. "Here I was pursuing doom 
and gloom, when it occurred to 
me that the Chilean rain forest 
was well on its way to becoming 
a future horizon, not a forgotten 
one," says Rudavsky, who at- 
tends graduate school at the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania. 

Omni international editor W. E. 
Gutman (Transportation, page 14) 
is familiar with many modes of trav- 
el, including France's Train a 
Grande Vitesse, or TGV. While he 
clocks more than 50,000 air 
miles per year, Gutman has also 
traveled by less trendy tramp 
steamers, dromedaries, and re- 
calcitrant mules. 

A past president of the Interna- 
tional Astronautical Federation, Jer- 
ry Grey (Space, page 12) is direc- 
tor of science and technology pol- 
icy at the American Institute of 
Aeronautics and Astronautics. 

Winner of a Rhysling Award for 
Best Short Poem of 1989, Robert 
Frazier (Stigmata, page 67) is one 
of science fiction's foremosl po- 
ets. 1 He and Bruce Boston co- 
wrote Chronicles of the Mutant 
Rain Forest (Mark V. Ziesing, fall 
1991), a volume of poetry set in 
the same milieu as "Stigmata." 
The book's proceeds will benefit 
rain forest conservation. 

And kudos to Ted Chiang, re- 
cently awarded a Nebula for his 
first published story, "Tower of Bab- 
ylon" (Omni, November 1990). "It 
makes you glad you're in the busi- 
ness. A fresh talent appears out 
of nowhere and reaps a top hon- 
or in the field," says Ellen Datlow, 
Omni fiction editor and coeditor 
of the fourth annual collection of 
The Year's Best Fantasy and Hor- 
ror (St. Martin's Press). DO 





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10 OMNI 



Looking eastward to Japan,' virtually dreaming of 

Tahiti, and banking on the Airbus 

Smart Dividends 

Erich Bloch's First Word [April 1991] 
seems to answer the question that was 
asked in a cartoon in the same issue: 
"You still wonder why Japan is ahead 
of us?" While the United States was mak- 
ing its smart bombs, Japan was busy 
making its smart cars, smart televisions, 
smart microchips, smart real estate in- 
vestments, and other smart invest- 
ments. The difference is not in the qual- 
ity or quantity of smartness, but in its 
direction. To get the full value of the 
peace dividend, our Cold War patriot- 
ism should be directed into high-tech 
research and development. Let's give 
future generations a dividend instead 
of a debt. 

Kenneth J. Epstein 

Being There 

Author Gregg Keizer ["As Good as 
There," April 1991] didn't take histele- 
virtuality scenario quite far enough. In 
my office of the future, I live in Tahiti. 
My job market is worldwide, but I work 
in virtual reality (VR) New York. At 7:55 
a.m. I'm sipping coffee in Tahiti. At 8 a.m. 
I don my VR suit and enter my VR of- 
fice in VR, NY. I shuffle through my VR 
mail, then wander into a colleague's of- 
fice for a three-way televirtuality chat. 
When it's time to eat lunch, I'm sitting 
on the real sand in the real Tahiti. 
What a wonderful life! 

Roger A. Bruno 
Portland, OR 

Back to You, Bob 

Although a great concept, "Gourmet 
Garbage" [Continuum, April 1991] is not 
a new idea. More than 40 years ago, 
radio comedians Bob Elliott and Ray 
Goulding (also known as Bob and Ray) 
wrote and performed a bit they titled 
"Edible Food Packaging," It was even 
included in their 1983 Atheneum book 
From Approximately Coast to 
Coast.. .It's the Bob and Ray Show. I am 
sure Bob (Ray died last year) would ap- 
preciate the credit. 

Steven Lance 
Howell, NJ 

Pregnant Thoughts 

Congratulations are in order for Barry 
N. Malzberg's "What I Did to Bluni the 
Alien Invasion" [April 1991]. Malzberg 
uses ideas, subjects, and techniques 
that cry out for synthesis. The story 
would make a great novel. 

Dennis M. Zogbi 
Northport, NY 

User-friendly Skies 

Shame on your aviation "expert" Mar- 
tin Caidin for joining the sensationalist 
supermarke: iasjlcid morualky regarding 
"unsafe" fly-by-wire systems coming on- 
to the aviation market [Transportation, 
April 1991]. I am a pilot for a major U.S. 
airline. To date, no aircraft accidents 
have been blamed on computer glitch- 
es. But one famous accident might 
have been avoided if only the aircraft 
had had a fly-by-wire system. The 
crash of a United DC-10 in Sioux City, 
Iowa, was due to a catastrophic engine 
failure that severed the hydraulic lines 
to the flight controls. With a fly-by-wire 
system, the pilots probably could have 
maintained total control of the airplane 
and landed safely. There will always be 
inherent risk in any technology, but fly- 
by-wire, in this airline pilot's opinion, 
makes the skies safer. 

Eric Auxier 
Scottsdale, AZ 


The credit for the cover of the May 
1988 issue of Omni should have read 
as follows: Cover photograph part of a 
series taken for the poster Give Peace 
a Chance to commemorate the bomb- 
ing of Hiroshima. The poster is part 
of the permanent 
collection of the 
Hiroshima Mod- 
ern Museum of 
Art. Art/Design: 
Minoru Morita; 
Glass Sculpture: 
Milon Townsend; 
Kan Nakai; Copy- 
right 1985 Minoru 
Morita. DO 


Japan's going a long way on just a little money 

By Jerry Grey 

Space— the fi- 
nal market: 
Japan aims to 
conquer the 
ultimate frontier 
with the 
same strategies 
that won 
it the consumer 
and computer 

Over the past few dec- 
ades, the United States 
has lost some of its 
most technologically important 
and profitable markets to Japan. 
Now space experts wonder if per- 
haps the commercial space 
ket will be going the way of auto- 
mobiles, consumer electronics, 
and computers — to the Land of 
the Rising Sun. 

A glance at the financial picture 
is misleading. Japan spends a pal- 
try $1.5 billion a year on space, 
while the United States invests 
about $35 billion. Even China 
has looser purse strings than 
Japan, pouring about S3 bil- A 
lion annually into space. And" / . 
with an annual outlay of $4 
billion, nearly triple Japan's 
budget, Europe seems 
more worrisome. 

The financiat bottom 
line, however, doesn't tell 
the whole story. Little of Japan's 
space budget goes toward mili- 
tary space systems, which gob- 
ble up more than half the U.S. 
space budget. And the Japanese 
government spends far less than 
the United States or Europe on 
such infrastructure elements as 
space stations. 

Instead, Japan aims its yen 
much more precisely at market- 
able products and services like sat- 
ellite communications, which 
makes up today's largest commer- 
cial space market. Although U.S. 
firms built Japan's first few gen- 
erations of commercial communi- 
cations satellites, each new sat- 
ellite generation incorporates 
more indigenous technology. 

More important, Japan has in- 
vested heavily in technologies 
that have little commercial value 
now but whose potential is tremen- 
dous. As a result, it has leap- 
frogged the Western nations in to- 
morrow's products: direct broad- 
cast systems for high-definition 
TV; high-frequency personal-com- 

;ations satellites (like the 
Dick Tracy wrist radio); fiberoptic 
links with ground-based commu- 
nications networks; and low- 
cost, high-performance receiving 
antennas, already the largest com- 
mercial hardware market in sat- 
ellite communications. 

Another key strategy is the team- 
ing of government and industry to 
develop commercially important 
technologies. For instance, in 
1986, seven of Japan's largest 
companies created the Space 
Technology Corporation. Under 
the umbrella of the government's 
Ministry of International Trade and 
Industry (IvllTI), it has coordinat- 
ed Japan's efforts in microgravity 
research, which could spawn 
enormous markets. Last year two 
new consortia were formed: the 
70-company Rocket System Cor- 
poration, to market Japan's new 
H-ll launcher; and the Japan 
Manned Space System Corpora- 
tion, which counts five of the 
world's largest banks among its 
60 members. 

This flurry of activity, in areas 
of space technology that have yet 

to generate their first yen, resem- 
bles MITI's teaming of Japan's 
eight largest electronics firms in 
1961. They set out to develop ran- 
dom-access memory chips for a 
then-nonexistent computer mar- 
ket. Today they dominate the 
world market. 

Japan's past market conquests 
came not from huge budgets but 
from judicious application of 
these same strategies. So al- 
though Japan doesn't spend near- 
ly as much as other spacefaring 
countries on its space programs, 
the allocation of its expenditures 
may very well prove to be wiser. 

Fortunately, the United States 
seems to have finally learned its 
lesson from Japan. For example, 
NASA's Office of Commercial Pro- 
grams has accelerated its excel- 
lent program to pinpoint commer- 
cially promising technologies and 
products and to foster govern- 
ment-industry-university cooper- 
ation. If our policymakers prove 
successful in promoting this 
trend, there's hope that the United 
States can continue to be compet- 
itive in space. DO 

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France's superfast train could zoom your way 

By W. E. Gutman 

The train that 

beats the 

plane: France's 


Train a Grande 

Traveling through Europe 
by train can be slow, in- 
convenient, and, depend- 
ing on the country operating the 
train, uncomfortable. All that will 
change, however, if a high- 
speed rail network now on the 
drawing board becomes a reality. 
Developed by France's state- 
owned railway, the Soci6t6 Nation- 
ale des Chemins de Fer (SNCF), 
for the French Ministry of Trans- 
portation, the plan calls for 20,000 
miles of high-speed track to be 
laid between Europe's principal 
cities by the year 2015. Many of 
the trains would run at speeds fast- 
er than 220 miles per hour, in 
many cases halving travel time be- 
tween cities. For example, travel- 
ing from Paris to London via the 

More than likely, the high- 
speed trains crossing Europe in 
the next century will be updated 
versions of the SNCF's own Train 
a Grande Vitesse (TGV), an over- 
whelming success since its inau- 
guration in 1981. The world's fast- 
est train in commercial service, 
the latest model of the TGV 
streaks along at 186 miles per 
hour between Paris and cities on 
the French coasts and along 
France's eastern flank. In addi- 
tion, the TGV's ticket prices beat 
those of France's domestic airline 
by as much as 50 percent. 

Built by GEC Alsthom, the cur- 
rent model of the 490-ton electric 
train is 40 percent more powerful 
than the initial TGV models that 
still run from Paris to Lyons at an 

lures travelers 

away from 

airlines with 


cars and low 

soon-to-be-completed Channel 
Tunnel would take only two hours 
and ten minutes. 

The SNCF estimates that 50 mil- 
lion travelers per year will avail 
themselves of the high-speed 
rail network, siphoning passen- 
gers from the airlines. "The new 
Europe is politically committed to 
a widening of its mass-transport 
infrastructure," says Bernard 
Riehl, commercial attache at the 
French embassy. "This, coupled 
with wide public support for an en- 
ergy-efficient mode of travel, will 
sharpen competition on short- to 
medium-distance routes." 

impressive 168 miles per hour, 
outpacing Japan's 130-mile-per- 
hour Tokyo-Osaka bullet train. 

GEC Alsthom and the SNCF 
have taken great pains to prevent 
the TGV from disturbing the 
French countryside it traverses, 
building deer crossings and erect- 
ing sound barriers in certain ar- 
eas, for example. In France's 
famed Loire Valley wine country, 
rubber padding lines the train tun- 
nels to keep the vibrations from 
reaching delicate vineyards and 
wine cellars. 

But the TGV's greatest virtues 
are its quiet ride and amenities. 

Passengers can easily take 
notes, undisturbed by bumps or 
jolts. Each of the train's ten ele- 
gant cars has a phone, and many 
cars have small compartments re- 
served for business meetings. 

Other parts of the world will 
soon be able to sample the TGV's 
advantages. GEC Alsthom and 
Canada's Bombardier Corpora- 
tion have signed a marketing and 
manufacturing agreement for the 
TGV in North America, where it is 
being considered in tentative 
plans for numerous high-speed 
rail lines, including those between 
Toronto and Montreal, and Miami, 
Orlando, and Tampa. 

Meanwhile, scientists are work- 
ing to make the TGV even more 
efficient, designingadouble-deck- 
er train that will increase passen- 
ger capacity from 485 to about 
730 per train, They're also trying 
to raise the TGV's operating 
speed. "There are virtually no tech- 
nical impediments to achieving 
higher commercial velocities — 
only economic ones," like electric- 
ity consumption, says Pierre Ga- 
laud, vice president for marketing 
at GEC Alsthom's U.S. subsidiary. 

"The TGV has demonstrated 
that proven rail-wheel technology 
can provide a wide margin of safe- 
ty and is capable oi still greater 
speeds without resorting to exot- 
ic or untried transportation sys- 
tems," Riehl says. Such alterna- 
tive systems include magnetic- 
levitation trains that use the force 
of repulsion between negative 
and positive magnets, embedded 
in the track and in the train, to sus- 
pend the train inches above the 
track. The few existing commer- 
cial mag-lev rail lines using con- 
ventional magnets run at low 
speeds and cover only short dis- 
tances. Japan, meanwhile, is con- 
centrating on superconductive 
mag-lev trains, which are not ex- 
pected to enter service until well 
into the twenty-first century. OO 



Environmentalists rescue an ancient forest 

By Shari Rudavsky 

The story reads like a con- 
servationist's fairy tale: 
Deep in the woods of Chi- 
le stand some of the oldest living 
trees on Earth, older than even 
the California redwoods. A red- 
woods activist hears the legends 
of these majestic trees and sets 
off to Chile to try to locate them. 
His quest, marked by several 
trips through the Chilean wilder- 
ness, ends after 13 years when he 
comes upon a cathedral forest of 
the elusive ancient trees, called 
Thanks alerce, in an area virtually un- 
to a group of touched by man. 

activists, Chile's 

alerce tree 

will be spared 

the ax. 

Today the hero of this true-life 
tale, Richard Klein, is spearhead- 
ing a movement to save the an- 
cient forests of Chile — home to 
the alerce, a tree that lives as 

long as 4,000 years, and the arau- 
caria tree, a species that's at 
least 2D0 million years old. The al- 
erce is a cedar closely related to 
the giant sequoia. Although little 
is known about it, botanists con- 
sider the alerce the oldest giant 
tree on Earth, second in age only 
to the Pacific Southwest's bristle- 
cone pine. 

But just as this story has its he- 
roes, an international group of 
conservationists, it also has vil- 
lains: wood chipping companies 
whose workers chip away at the 
trees until there is nothing left 
but stumps. 

Three years ago Klein started 
Ancient Forest International (AFI) 
to save the world's endangered 
redwoods. Because of the imme- 
diate threat to the alerce and 
araucariatrees, AFI now concen- 
trates its efforts on the Chilean for- 
ests, which constitute a mirror bi- 
ome of the Pacific Northwest for- 
ests. "We're the primary group in 
North America concerned with 
one of the two greatest temperate 
rain forests on the planet," says 
Klein. "We must save what's left, 
especially the most superlative 
examples of life." 

Because land in the Chilean for- 
est can cost a fraction of equiva- 
lent land in North America, wood 
chipping companies have flock- 
ed to the area. The araucaria and 
alerce trees are protected by the 
government, but they live within 
the mixed hardwood trees that the 
wood products companies seek. 
Wood chipping in these areas 
could destroy the alerce and arau- 
caria's habitat. 

The low price of Chilean land, 
however, also holds the key to the 
problem. AFI and other groups 
have devised a plan that follows 
the U.S. -based Nature Con- 
servancy blueprint: Raise mon- 
ey to purchase the land for interna- 
tional sanctuaries. "I can't afford 
to save the redwoods because 

land values in the Pacific North- 
west are so high," says Ami Gold- 
berg, AFI administrator. "But in Chi- 
le you don't need to be rich to 
save an acre of land." 

The organizations have laid the 
groundwork for an araucaria pre- 
serve. AFI has raised more than 
$100,000 to buy the 1,000-acre 
Cafii araucaria forest, currently 
owned by a Chilean environmen- 
talist who purchased the land as 
a temporary measure to save the 
trees from the chopping block. As- 
suming AFI can raise the addition- 
al $70,000, AFI's Chilean associ- 
ate, Fundacion Lahuan, will re- 
ceive title to the land this year. 

In addition to the Cafii pre- 
serve, Fundacion Lahuan and AFI 
are attempting to establish an 
alerce reserve around the Ca- 
huelmo Fjord, known in Chile as 
"The Place of the Dolphins." Ac- 
cessible only by foot, Cahuelmo 
boasts miles of untouched alerce. 
Depending on how much money 
it can raise, AFI hopes to pur- 
chase between 5,000 and 
500,000 acres of alerce habitat to 
create a world park in the fjord re- 
gion, nicknamed the Yosemite of 
the Southern Hemisphere. 

The bulk of support for these 
projects comes from the corpo- 
rate sector, but AFI has also re- 
ceived contributions from "little 
kids who empty their piggy 
banks," Goldberg says. 

AFI also focuses attention on 
the Chilean forests by conducting 
scientific expeditions into the 
rain forest. More than 150 scien- 
tists, journalists, and conservation- 
ists accompany the AFI staff on 
these monthlong treks to expand 
scientific knowledge of Chile's in- 
digenous trees. 

Through Ihese efforts, the or- 
ganization hopes to engender a 
sense of responsibility for the glob- 
al environment. "We feel that a 
tree is a tree and borders don't mat- 
ter," Goldberg says.DQ 


Sometimes all you need is a light push 

By Patricia Barnes-Svarney 

The kite that 

A cheap mode 

of space 

travel could 

open the 

solar system 


I f% ■ ith money for space 
I I exploration in short 
w II supply, the nonprofit 
World Space Foundation has 
turned to the written word to bank- 
roll an unusual project. 

The foundation hopes that its 
book Project Solar Sail (©1990 
ROC, $4.50) will not only gener- 
ate enough cash to help under- 
write its project but will also rally 
support for a little-known, theoret- 
ical manner of space travel — 
"sailing" on beams of sunlight. 

The idea of using a 
saillike sheet of mate- 
rial to travel through 
space was first pro- 
posed in 1924 by a 
pair of Russian engi- 
neers, Konstantin Tsi- 
olkovsky and Fried- 
rich Tsander. The 
concept is simple 
enough; Light parti- 
cles called photons 
can exert gentle pres- 
sure on a reflective sail- 
like object, pushing it 
away from the sun the 
way wind pushes the 
sail of a ship. But un- 
like the fickle wind, 
light steadily streams 
from the sun, supply- 
ing an abundance of 
propellant at zero 
cost. Robert Staehle, 
World Space Founda- 
tion president, says that the sails 
now under development will 
achieve modest top speeds of 
75,000 to 100,000 miles per 
hour, but he adds that the speed 
potential for future-generation 
sails will be far greater. 

That's the idea at least. Wheth- 
er or not the idea lives up to ex- 
pectations should be made clear 
by a solar sail race to the moon 
slated for 1994. "It's a race all 
right," Staehle says, "but a race 
of the crudest sort, like an air- 
plane race in 1903." The foun- 

dation's entry, the only American 
sail in the race, will compete 
against an entry from the Union 
pour la Promotion de la Propul- 
sion Photonique (U3P), a French 
and Spanish consortium, and an- 
other from Japan's Solar Sail 
Union. Plans call for the trio to be 
launched aboard an Ariane rock- 
et. After unfurling in space, the 
first craft to send photos of the 
moon's far side back to Earth 
wins. The foundation's craft will 
then slingshot around the moon 

and set course for a three-year jour- 
ney to Mars. 

The plans are ambitious. But 
the search for funding — from cor- 
porations and other sources — 
produced mixed success. So 
when Bob Cesarone, a trajectory 
engineer at NASA's Jet Propul- 
sion Laboratory and a foundation 
staff member, suggested putting 
together a book and using the ad- 
vance and royalties to fund ongo- 
ing expenses of the project, the 
group cheered. "We asked the writ- 
ers to give us stories, not money," 

says Cesarone. While purchasers 
of the book will be contributing 
to getting the vessel aloft, the 
book's proceeds will cover only 
a fraction of the $4.5 million ft 
will cost to build the solar sail. "But 
it's helped us generate money at 
a critical stage of the project," 
Staehle says. 

Project Solar Sail, a mixture of 
fact and fiction by such authors 
as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, 
and Ray Bradbury, traces the real 
and fictional development of the 
lightweight sails. The 
project has not only 
helped ease the cash 
flow problem but also 
helped to clarify the 
foundation's goals. 
"The book has been 
good for our morale," 
Staehle says. "It has al- 
so forced us to artic- 
ulate on paper some 
of the directions that 
solar sailing may 
take us, something 
many of us never 
had to do before. 
Now we are firmly 
fixed on flying the 
spacecraft, learning 
how to sail in space, 
and knowing where it 
will lead us." 

One of the chap- 
ters describes the 
enormous benefits of 
developing armadas of solar 
sails to further space exploration. 
"To send humans to Mars, you 
would have to send equipment, 
water, supplies, and fuel," says 
David Brin, the book's editor. "So- 
lar sails will be an inexpensive 
way to ship the hardware years be- 
fore we launch the people. Just 
send the sails and park them in 
orbit. If space travelers found 
they didn't need everything and 
came back to Earth, there would 
be all that equipment, fuel, and wa- 
ter tempting us to go back." DO 

20 OMN! 



Meat lover, change your eating ways. Plus, rebuilding the desert 

shield, and why Fido won't shut up 

It's a good time to be a veg- 
etarian. And at the risk of 
sounding smug, I admit that 
what is on the minds, if not 
the tongues, of many of us is 
"I told you so." Over the past 
two decades nutritional and 
biomedical research has 
shown in hundreds of studies 
not only that it is possible to 
be a well-nourished vegetari- 
an, but also that vegetarians 
experience lower rates of dis- 
ease and live longer than 
meat eaters. That's some- 
thing to crow about. 

Although many dietary reg- 
imens sail under the vegetar- 
ian flag, the two main types 
are vegan and lacto-ovo. Lac- 
to-ovo vegetarians are by far 
the most numerous. They 
avoid meat, fish, and fowl but 
eat dairy products and 
eggs. Vegans eliminate 
eggs and dairy. 

We can thank the Seventh- 
day Adventists, a conserva- 
tive Christian group formed in 
the nineteenth century, for 
much of what we know 
about vegetarian diets. Rough- 
ly half of Adventists are lacto-ovo vegetarians and 
make for an ideal subject pool. Thousands have | 
been studied and compared with the general pop- 
ulation over the past 25 years, says David Snowdon 
of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Sanders- 
Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. 

Snowdon's work has shown that vegetarians have lowei 
blood pressure and cholesterol than meat eaters. They are 
also less prone to diabetes and prostate cancer. They expe- 
rience less obesity, and their rates of heart disease are low- 
er than those of the general population. Vegetarians dc 
live longer. Why? 

"Coronary heart disease and stroke are the major killers,' 
Snowdon says, "and the determinants of how long people 
live." Since vegetarians tend io eat fewer calories than om- 
nivores, they are slimmer, which results in lower blood pres- 
sure and cholesterol, and less diabetes, "all of which are 

risk factors for coronary 

heart disease and stroke," 
Snowdon says. What's 
more, vegetarian oiets are low- 
er in saturated fat and higher 
in fiber, and their high vege- 
table intake provides more of 
substances such as beta car- 
otene that are protective 
against cancer. 

To meat eaters, Snowdon 
suggests cutting back, even 
a little, on steaks, burgers, 
and chops. As people con- 
sume less meat, the threat of 
coronary heart disease goes 
down, as does the risk of di- 
abetes. "Everyone," Snow- 
don says, "can benefit from 
moving a bit along that di- 
etary continuum." Vegetarian- 
ism is not simply an either/or 

Suzanne Havala, author of 
the American Dietetic Associ- 
ation's 1988 position paper 
on vegetarian eating, endors- 
es "a well-planned" 
vegetarian diet. So 
why aren't we be- 
ing urged by the 
medical communi- 
ty to make the 
switch? Hava- 
la thinks that 
part of the 
problem is that 
irianism is too foreign io Americans. Ours 
is a meat-based culture, she says, "and vegetarian diets are 
just un-American." Don't underestimate the meat industry 
either, she cautions. It has political clout. But Snowdon 
says he's hopeful. The dietary guidelines coming out of the 
National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of 
Sciences over the past ten years suggest that people cut 
down on animal products and eat more fiber, fruits, and 
vegetables. That sounds suspiciously like gradual veg- 
etarianism to Snowdon. It's a slow process, he says, "but 
little by little many people will approximate a vegetarian di- 
et." See you in the produce section.— RAUL MCCARTHY 




Researchers have dis- 
covered some good news 
and some bad news about 
methane, a gas that 
contributes to the green- 
house effect. The good 
news: We're emitting less 
methane than scientists have 
previously estimated based 
on the concentrations of 
methane in the atmosphere. 
The bad news: The meth- 
ane emissions linger in the 
atmosphere longer than 
researchers thought. 

A. R. Ravishankara and G. 
L. Vaghjiani of the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration's Aeronomy 
Laboratory in Boulder, Colo- 
rado, found that the naturally 
occurring hydroxyl radical 
reacts with methane to 

dissipate the gas about 25 
percent more slowly than 
earlier studies had shown. So 
methane stays in the 
atmosphere not ten years, as 
previously estimated, but 
more than 12 years. 

Scientists have based 
their estimates of worldwide 
methane emissions on 
the gas's concentration In 
the atmosphere and the 
accepted rate at which it 
reacts with hydroxy Is. 
Ravishankara and Vaghji- 
ani's findings indicate that a 
smaller amount of meth- 
ane that lasts longer ac- 
counts for the concentration. 
The researchers say that 
the earth is thus emitting 100 
billion fewer kilograms a 
year of methane than was 
thought. Efforts to curb 
methane emissions, there- 
fore, may have a corre- 

spondingly greater effect on 
atmospheric warming. 
"The amount of methane in 
the atmosphere is now 
increasing at one percent a 
year," Ravishankara says. 
"We could try to reduce that 
to zero." 

An international research 
panel estimated that 15 
percent of the energy 
radiating from Earth is 
trapped by atmospheric 
methane, which is also 
known as swamp gas, 
Methane is produced not 
only industrially, but also 
organically by such sources 
as wetlands, rice farms, 
landfills, sheep, cows, and 
lcrm'!es. — John Voelcker 

"Every man loves and 
admires bis own country 
because it produced him, " 
— Edward Butwer-Lytton 



At Cornell University, 
physicist Arthur Ruoff and his 
research team Know all about 
high-pressure science. They 
claim to have produced the 
greatest sustained static 
pressures ever achieved in a 

Bysqueezing a sample of 
molybdenum powder in 
the jaws of a diamond anvil, 
Ruoff and his team registered 
a sustained pressure of 4.16 
megabars greater than the 

G/fii'i: sand cl 

ing afjos '■" ihe Middle fes: 



Sand dunes and sand- 
storms could engulf roads, 
plantations, airports,- or 

.even whole villages in 

3.6 megabars pressure at 
the earth's core. The result 
created a solid form that 
doesn't usually exist at 
surface pressures. "When 
you squeeze a substance 
really hard, you change the 
distance between atoms," 
says Ruoff. 

"This research could 
enable us to test theories 
about the atomic structure 
of matter," he adds. The 
group's high-pressure stud- 
ies could yield valuable 
insights into the structure of 
the earth and other planets, 
findings that could ultimate- 
ly lead to a better 
understanding of the origin 
of the universe. 

—Kathleen McAuiiffe 

"If you want your name 
spelled wrong, die. " 

—At Blsncnzxi 

war-ravaged i ■ ,vah :u i 
ern Iraq., and northeastern.. 

Saudi Arabia. 

The construction of count- 
less bunkers and military 
installations, as well as the 
Allied and Iraqi bombing 
raids during the Persian Gulf 
War, left thousands; of 
craters in the desert. By 
removing the natural "desert 
-r.i-z-d.^ small rocks and. 
pebbles that cover the sand, 
'he '■■'! 'il'ary's a ell on n- 
creased the formation of 
send dunes explains geolo- 
gist Farouk el-Baz, head of 
Boston University's Center 
for Remote Sensing.- The 
desert's near-constant 
winds blow-newly exposed 
sand' into dunes that can 
grow as high as 200 feet; 
The dunes creep at a rate 


The biblical command to 
go forth and multiply 
apparently never reached 
the pink lady's slipper, an 
orchid native to the forests of 
the eastern United States. 

After studying 3,000 of the 
orchids in a Virginia forest for 
14 years, Doug Gill, a 
zcolocisi at the University of 
Maryland in College Park, 
discovered that only 1,000 
plants had flowered and just 
23 had been successfully 
pollinated. "This is an aston- 
ishing failure rate," he says. 

Although the flowers are 
fertile, Gill found, they 
discourage reproduction at 
every step. Most flowers 
attract pollinators through 
irresistible colors or by offer- 
ing a reward, like nectar, or 

of up to one foot per day, 
El-Baz learned while track- 
ing dune- movement by . 
plane and satellite in Egypt 
and Kuwait from the 
Seventies onward. Moving ■ 
slowly but relentless':/, the 
sand- can eventually swallow 
an. entire city. "People have 
to leave, because ine sand 
keeps piling up' higher and 
n-g'nerr Tr.'i-baz says "v. s 
not like a blizzard you can 
dig. out from." In western 
Egypt In 1979, the govern- 
ment had to.build new 
villages to replace those 
buried in sand. 

El-Baz recommends fill- 
ing in the holes left in the- 
desert as the most- effective 
way to discourage the 
formation of the enormous 
dunes —Steve Nadis 

a tama:izing aroma. But pink 
lady's slippers produce no 
nectar, instead attracting 
bees by subterfuge: hinting 
at the presence of nectar 
but delivering none. Adding 
insult to injury, the bee must 
descend into the flower's 
folded petals, which then 
close even further to trap the 
bee. The insect eventually 
escapes with a blob of 
p6tien,\)U\'fiBe'iaom returns 
to repeat the ordeal. 

Many other species of 
orchids don't offer nectar 
but can reproduce by 
pollinating themselves. Gill 
believes the pink lady's 
slipper is purposely repress- 
ing its own propagation, an 
extremely unusual occur- 
rence. So how does the 
plant persist? For one thing, 
each produces about 60,000 
seeds when successfully 

pollinated. "These plants 
enjoy virtual immortality," 
Gill says. "They have no 
enemies, and they live 
twenty-five to thirty years." 
— W. E. Gutman 

"Everyone thinks of chang- 
ing the world, but no one 
thinks of changing himself. " 
— Leo Tolstoy 








Coming soon, the music 
of the Screaming Infant 
Microbubbles. You won't find 
it on CD, but scientists like 
Herman Medwin of the Naval 
Postgraduate School in 
Monterey, California, are 
tuning in the music of the 
spheres — tiny bubbles sus- 
pended near the ocean's 
surface that indicate what the 
weather is like at sea. 

When raindrops hit water, 
Medwin says, they create 
tiny bubbles that emit 
high-pitched sounds, Impact 
makes the bubbles puise 
violently during their "scream- 
ing infant" stage, a fraction of 
a second. Then they settle 
into a more quiescent "adult" 

The pitch of. the bubbles' 

28 OMNI 

sound is directly related to 
the bubbles' size and the 
angle and velocity at which 
the raindrops hit the water, 
"Rain, hailstones, even 
snowflakes, each have their 
own signature sound," says 
Lawrence Crum, director of 
the National Center for 
Physical Acoustics. The 
differences in pitch can 
reveal information about air 
temperature above the 
ocean as well as wind speed, 
since raindrops that hit 
obliquely make a slightly 
different sound than those 
that fall vertically. 

By deploying arrays of 
sonobuoys over large areas 
of ocean, climatoiogists hope 
to get more accurate 
readings of weather systems 
than they now get from 
satellite photographs aione. 
— Khephra Burns 


Sometimes you just have 
to plunge ahead. A California 
man learned this lesson 
when his sixty-five-year-old 
father suddenly collapsed in 
from of the family at his 
home. Poorly trained in 
cardiopulmonary resuscita- 
tion (CPR). the son unsuc- 
cessfully tried mouth-to- 
mouth breathing. Desperate, 
the son grabbed a toilet 
plunger and, according to 
the Journal of the American 
Medical Association, "pro- 
ceeded to plunge his father's 
chest." The outcome: The 
patient was fully revived, but 
standard medical wisdom 
went down the drain, 

"Perhaps the plunger 
effectively served as a chest 
compressor," speculates Dr. 

Keith Lurie, one of the 

cardiologists who later treat- 
ed the patient at San 
Francisco General Hospital, 
"It's also possible thai the 
suction between the chest 
wall and the plunger 
generated significant nega- 
tive pressure that helped to 
ventilate the man." 

Thrilled, the son later 
recommended coronary units 
be equipped with plungers. 
Says Dr. Lurie, "We recom- 
mend he take a basic course 
in CPR." 

—Kathleen McAuliffe 

6:00 A.M. AND NOON 


■The field. of'birth control 
has just gotten a shot in the 
arm — literally. 

Researchers at the 
University of Virginia have 
been experimenting with a 
vaccine that sparks a 
woman's imrr-une syste-T. to 
develop antibodies to 
SP-i.G, .a- protein molecule 
that appears on the head of 
a sperm. During test-tube 
experiments; sperm at- 
tacked by the antibodies 
failed to penetrate an egg. 
The scientists are now 
testing the. vaccine on 
baboons and may be ready 
. for human tests in less than 
two. years. 

Ideally, the vaccine 

would last only a year or 
two. But researcher John 
Herr admits that the 
scientists "don't know yet 
whether it'll Wear off or 
not."— Pat Janowski 



A cocker spaniel, under 
observation, barked 907 
times in ten minutes. Multiply 
that by 52 million, the number 
of dogs in the United States, 
and you have the potential 
for major noise. Hampshire 
College biologist Raymond 
Coppinger, who has spent 
30 years studying dogs, 
teamed up with fellow linguist 
Mark Feinstein to figure out 
what's behind all thai racket. 
Their conclusion: Dog bark- 
ing is a pointless, energy- 
wasting activity, 

"When dogs bark, they are 
doing the same kind of thing 
they do when they chase 
balls or their own tails," 
Coppinger and Feinstein 
report. "While these behav- 
iors serve no real function, 
the dog is likely to repeat 
them over and over." 

Barks can mean anything — 
let me in, let me out. feed me, 
pet me — or nothing at all. 
"Unlike other wild animal 
calls, the bark has no built-in 
biological meaning," Coppin- 
ger says. Newborn pups 
make whimpering, tonal 
sounds that do have an 


That'll be $2.39.. .er, 
exhibit no. 1. 

Bar-code technology, 
long used by industry to 
track merchandise, is being 
used by law-enforcement 
officials as a weapon 
against paperwork. 

In a growing number of 
states, including Florida, 
Maryland, and South Caroli- 
na, police officers use bar 
codes, widely seen on 
consumer goods, to keep 
track of evidence, register 
arrests, and process fines. 
Bar-code scanners also sit 
next to the gavel in some 
state courthouses. In Ply- 
mouth, Michigan, for exam- 
ple, courtrooms have adopt- 
ed the technology in an 
effort to save time and cut 
down on administrative 

developed by Manatron Inc. 
in Kalamazoo, Michigan, will 
allow courtroom personnel 
to register all verdicts, 
adjournments, and prison 
sentences on a computer 
by waving a pen-shaped 
scanning wand over the 
appropriate codes — just like 
your friendly cashiers at the 

supermarket checkout line. 
Nbnethetess, it is not the 
intention of the Michigan 
court to treat a defendant 
like a piece of meat. Still, 
Judge James Garber says 
he hopes bar-code technol- 
ogy "is going to simplify 
things around here." 

— Bristol Lane Voss 

innate meaning: Take care of 
me. The snarls and growls of 
older dogs also convey a 
message: Get the hell out of 
here! The bark combines the 
tonal whines of a pup with the 
gnarly noises of an adult. The 
result is gobbledygook, 
Coppinger says. "It would be 
like a person saying, 
'Comeheregoaway, come- ' 

The explanation, he and 
Feinstein believe, lies in an 
evolutionary quirk that has 
left the domesticated dog in 
a state of permanent 
adolescence. Dogs bark for 
the same reason teenagers 
hang out in shopping malls: 
That's what adolescents 
do. — Steve Nad is 


Whether it's real or just 
the ravings of the scientific 
community, the so-called 
greenhouse effect has all the 
trappings of a Madison 
Avenue publicity campaign. 
Now a simple scientific 
principle could provide the 
evidence for or against the 
global warming theory. 
Sound travels faster 
through warm water than it 
does through cold water. So 
scientists want to periodically 
measure the length of time it 
takes sound waves to travel 
undersea between two 
points. The results could tell 
the scieniists if the ocean is 

getting warmer, University of 
Washington physicist Robert 
Spindel says. 

In a preliminary test last 
January scientists lowered a 
transmitter into the water off 
Antarctica and sent sound 
waves to underwater listen- 
ing posts in the United 
States, Australia, South 
Africa, India, and other 
countries. However, Spindel 
warns that it will take months 
of tests and data analysis 
before the technique is 
deemed accurate enough to 
gauge global warming. If the 
technique works, we should 
know after ten years of 
continuous observation wheth- 
er the earth is warming 
up. — Steve Nadis 



In the movies most 
costars play second fiddle, 
but in the case of the 
Hubble Space Telescope 
(HST) a CQSTAR may steal 
the show. 

COSTAR (Corrective Op- 
tics Space Telescope Axial 
Replacement) is the lead- 
ing contender in a number 
of plans to correct HST's 
faulty vision. Preliminary 
COSTAR designs call for 
the installation of a 
telephone- booth-size box, 

fitted with three pairs of 
posiage-stamp-size mirrors 
to refocus the Wide 
Field/Planetary Camera, the 
optical device that was 
supposed to revolutionize 
astronomy. Dennis Mc- 
Carthy, NASA's deputy 
program manager for the 
HST says that COSTAR 
should greatly improve the 
telescope's image quality, 
bringing it closer to its 
original specifications, 

A team of astronauts will 
spend about three days 
installing the corrective 
device, in addition to 
replacing the telescope's 
gyroscope and its solar 
arrays to correct the 
"bump" that disturbs the 
telescope as it passes 
between day and night. 
McCarthy estimates that 
the repair mission, slated 
for 1993, will cost between 
$20 miliion and $30 million. 
"The good news is that we 
can fix what's up there," 
McCarthy says. "The Hub- 
ble was designed to be 
repaired and maintained." 
—Robert W. Tinsley 


Polystyrene cups may 
have gotten a bum rap from 

environmentalists, according 
to chemist Martin Hocking at 
the University of Victoria in 
British Columbia. People who 
favor paper over polystyrene 
because of its biodegradabil- 
ity ignore the environmental 
impact of producing it. When 
Hocking looked at the energy 
consumed during the pro- 
duction of polystyrene cups 

32 OMNI 

versus paper cups, a very 
different picture emerged. 

Compared to one polysty- 
rene cup, the manufacture of 
a paper cup uses 6 times ■. 
more steam, 24 times more 
electricity, and produces 200 
times more wastewater. And 
although paper has the edge 
over polystyrene when it 
comes to degradation, Hock- 
ing cautions that the 
advantage may be moot. 
Paper buried in landfills in dry 
areas, for example, does not 
degrade any better than 

polystyrene. And paper that 
does break down in moist 
landfills produces gases that 
contribute to the greenhouse 
effect. "All things consid- 
ered," says Hocking, "poly- 
styrene foam ware deserves 
an equivalent or better 
environmental rating than 
paper containers." 

— Kathleen McAuliffe 


The best way to get 
the sun's energy is via the 
moon, say two scientists. 

Photoelectric cells on the 
moon would convert sun- 
light first into electricity and 
then into microwaves, ac- 
cording to David Criswell, di- 
rector of the Institute of 
Space Systems Operations 
at the University of 
Houston, and Robert Wal- 
dron of Rockwell Inter- 
national's Space Systems 

Between 10,000 and 
100,000 reflectors placed in 
a circle would then 
beam the microwaves back 
to receiving antennas, 
called rectennas, on Earth. 




000,000 ATOMS. 

Collecting solar power on 
the moon circumvents 
many oi the problems of 
earthbound solar power. For 
example, "there is no 
weather or any clouds to get 
in the way," Criswell says. 
Plus, the sunlight-collecting 
equipment on the moon 
could be as thin and light- 
weight as paper because 
of the fact that the moon has 
no wind, rain, or even 
air to buffet it. 

The microwave beams 
would be of very low in- 
tensity. "If you were stand- 
ing on the beach in 
front of a rectenna, you would 
absorb much more energy 
from the sun than from the 
microwaves," Criswell adds. 
— Devera Pine 

mpply plentiful Jopcr.Jaoie sola! po'-vc k; ;!:e e^rth. 

, the launch director pushes 

...:..,. Ujjjg Off (hg 

muzzle, the gun fires its 
Ih enough fore 
escape the ties of gravity 

,„ Jlu i Orbiting and lunar ....„, 
i will tels will house traveling 


rocket for liftoff would take the novel vehicles that leave access and use. 

days, weeks, or months. from them — will be As costs 

ring the cannon will owned and managed not by all, a single 

■ about half an hour. governments but by require thoi ™ ..- 

It's so cheap and easy that entrepreneurs. Without the lions — of dollars to v 

the Pacific spaceport red tape and bureau- get off the ground. As a result, working on dissertations, and 

cy that cripple agencies small businesses will pilgrims seeking to settle 

future this like NASA, say the entre- take advantage of micrograv- a new frontier, 

scene may be commonplace preneurs, a Pacific Rim effort ity to study advanced All this may sound far- 

a series of spaceports will catapult space tech- chemical compounds. Tour- fetched, but not to 

dotting the Pacific Rim. nology into a new, less expen- ists will enjoy the view of Bruce Roth. As the founder 

ts — and sive era of widespread Spaceship Earth now avail- and president of a young 

commerce' soacc company, Arizona- 
based Orbital Transport Services, he 
has spent the last decade trying to get 
ingenious projects like the Hawaiian 
space gun off the ground. 

Roth is one of a number of icono- 
clasts who have argued with the 
space establishment for years. His 
claim; Only by developing next-gener- 
ation spaceports and launch technolo- 
gies can we continue our giant leap in- 
to space. Space-business consultant 
Jay Miller agrees. "The moon and 
Mars will remain beyond our reach," he 
says, "until these new low-cost systems 
are built." 

The idea of launch sites in tine Pacif- 
ic Rim goes back decades. In 1961, for 
example, NASA itself considered Pacif- 
ic sites for the Apollo program. In 
those heady, hectic days, when the 
agency was scrambling to meet Presi- 
dent Kennedy's nine-year deadline to 
the moon, a NASA-Air Force team evalu- 
ated two such sites — one on Christmas 
Island and the other on the South Point 
on the island of Hawaii. The team 
found these sites viable but too costly 
because they were so remote. Cape Ca- 
naveral, already used by the Air Force 
to launch rockets, would cost only half 
as much to build and operate. 

But times change. And by the early 
Eighties. Pacific Rim spaceports 
seemed like an idea whose time had 
come. The first impetus was the pas- 
sage, in 1984. of the Commercial 
Space Launch Act. The new law 


called for the elimination of some of the 
red tape surrounding private sector 
space development and helped 
entrepreneurs get involved. 

These entrepreneurs were further en- 
couraged by a bold new market for the 
spaceports: the nations ef the Pacific 
Rim. Japan, for instance, today has a 
vigorous fledgling space program, and 
Taiwan and Korea are talking about mov- 
ing into the space business by the end 
of the decade. 

The Chinese are already there, sell- 
ing their own low-cost rockets and 
launch services at prices that can't be 
matched in the West. In fact, say the 
Chinese, they plan to launch a space 
station and a four-man capsule within 
the next 20 years. 

Such ambitious plans indicate that 
these rial ons now view access to orbit 
as an economic necessity. Indeed, as 
growth potential flattens in electronics 
and automobiles, space will provide the 
new high-tech frontier. What's more, set- 
tling the high frontier is a potent sign 
of prestige. As John Pike, a space ex- 
pert at the Federation of American Sci- 
entists, says, "One of the talismans of ' 
a first-rate country is a space program. 
It's like having a battleship before 
World War I." 

But Pacific spaceports aren't just ad- 
vantageous to nations of the Pacific 
Rim. No matter what country you're 
from, launching -payloads from a tropi- 
cal island may be the way to go, First 
of all, Pacific Rim sites are located 



The B-17 "Flying Portress." It was the very 
backbone of the Allied aerial offensive 
during World War II. Now, to commemorate 
the 50th anniversary of World War II, the 
Air Force Museum Foundation authorizes 
the authentic re-creation of a rare surviving 
B-17G that actually saw combat. It's called 
Shoo Shoo Baby, now on permanent display 
at theU,S. Air Force Museum. 

Here is a remarkable die-cast model of 
the original, precision engineered of 111 
components with a vast array of operating 
features. The propellers actually spin. The 
landing gear is retractable. The bomb bay 
doors open and close, 

Shoo Sho o Bab y also has astonishing 
detail. With a removable canopy that 
reveals the interior of the plane. Even 
the nose art re-creates the original's, 

The price, just $195. A custom- 
designed display stand is included at no 
additional charge. Available only from 
Franklin Mint Precision Models. 

On the 50th Anniversary 

of World WarH, 

the Air Force Museum Foundation 

Presents Its First Official 

Die-Cast Re-creation of 

the B-17G "Flying Fortress." 

Even the nose art captures the authentic look 
of fte original. 

-mm _ 



Franklin Mint Precision Models 
Franklin (.'enter. Pennsylvania 19091 
Ves! I want to order riis authorized dio-oasi 
rBfiroduci ion ol S i'ioo Shuo Baby , a rare sur- 
viving R-I7G thai actually -i-.w i.-ombal 'luring 
WW 1 11. My ini[)c:i:f'i.l :tiiic1-~I will :irrive with its 
own display stand at no additional cost. 

1 need send no monoy now. 1 "ill be billed 
for S i.H:!)Oiii uf Sjd.^wht'ii my in'.' del is ready to 
be sent to mo and. ali.or shipment for the bal- 
i iji.tr 

Franklin Mint Precision Models* Simply Miles Ahead. 






near the eqLtator, which puts your 
point of departure closer to equatorial 
orbit — the required orbit for satellites. 
Thus your vehicle takes advantage of 
the earth's high-speed rotation, more 
than 1 ,000 miles per hour at the equa- 
tor, to catapult it into orbit; as a result, 
a given craft can lift more payload us- 
ing the _same amount of fuel. Even 
more advantageous, a number of is- 
lands have mountains. Taking off from 
a higher elevation allows a craft to avoid 
the thick lower atmosphere, where fric- 
tion increases the amount of power need- 
ed to lift a payioad to orbit. 

And today the remoteness of these 
sites is also a plus for space travel. A 
big empty downrange area is important 
whenever something that goes up de- 
cides to come down — like a spent rock- 
et stage. What falls from the sky 
shouldn't land on a populated area. It's 
also nice to be able to launch in almost 
any direction. At Cape Canaveral, for 
example, you can't fire a rocket over the 
populated heartland of the continental 
United States. This crucial restriction se- 
riously limits the orbits into which you 
can easily place satellites- 
Recognizing the value of a local 
spaceport, the state of Hawaii recently 
hired the Arthur D. Little firm to conduct 

a feasibility study Little's analysts 
found that such a plan could succeed, 
and even suggested two sites for the 
enterprise; Palima and Kahilipali 
points, located along Highway 11 on 
the Big Island within 13 miles of each 
other at 19 degrees north latitude. 

The Little experts also advised Ha- 
waii to move ahead with an environmen- 
tal impact statement (EIS) and master 
plan for the two locations. The state's 
EIS is now complete. And a federal En- 
vironmental Protection Agency state- 
ment should be finished in 1992. The 
master plan, meanwhile, proposes 
launch facilities for rockets ranging in 
size from small ones unable to reach or- 
bit to large ones that can reach orbit 
with ease, 

Yet another Pacific Rim spaceport is 
being considered at Cape York, Aus- 
tralia — a site that makes the Hawaii lo- 
cations look like Times Square. Accord- 
ing to Robert Gray, a former NASA 
launch director who has worked as a 
consultant to the Australian project, the 
Cape York site is particularly advanta- 
geous because it's located at about 12 
degrees south latitude, very close to the 
equator. From this vantage point, Gray 
says, "it-wilt, allow you to launch about 
fifteen to twenty percent more payload 

than Canaveral, and about thirty to for- 
ty percent more payload than you 
could from the Soviets' Baikonur." 

In order to interest investors in fund- 
ing Pacific Rim spaceports, however, ad- 
vocates must come up with novel new 
rockets — ores iha: arc drastically cheap- 
er to build and use than the convention- 
al rockets of today. Plans for alterna- 
tives to today's expendable rockets — 
which are essentially discarded after a 
single use — have been around for dec- 
ades. In the Fifties, for example, the 
late Gerald Bull a Canacan artillery ge- 
nius, worked furiously to make a gun 
able to shoot a payload to space — a 
joint U.S. -Canadian effort known as 
HARP (High Altitude Research Project). 
Bull actually built an enormous space 
gun in Barbados, one that was almost 
able to launch a projectile into orbit. Un- 
fortunately, he ran into pressure from 
rocket makers, who viewed his efforts 
as a threat to their control over access 
lo space. 

The gun launcher concept lay dor- 
mant until Roth grew interested. Sitting 
in his neat two-story house, across 
Irom the public library in suburban Glen- 
dale, Arizona, the ex-Marine and Viet- 
nam veteran and father of two and a 
half (his physician wife is pregnant 

with numbei th'ee'i oxolaii-s that he had 
the good fortune to rediscover HARP 
about two years ago. That was when he 
came across a book about it written by 
Bull and Charles Murphy of the Ballis- 
tics Research Laboratory at the Aber- 
deen Proving Grounds. 

"I spoke with Bull at that time," he re- 
calls. Unfortunately, this potential col- 
laboration was cut short. By the late 
Eighties, Bull, based in Brussels, was 
hard at work on a superweapon capa- 
ble of raining down poison gas, high ex- 
plosives, and even nuclear weapons for 
President Saddam Hussein. In 1990 he 
was found shot dead. 

Even without Bull, however, the cre- 
ation of a space gun is in the cards. As 
a first step, Roth says, he would like to 
design a gun that could "lift experi- 
ments in trajectories just shy of orbit." 
The suggestec; location: a-op a barge 
based in Pearl Harbor. "The whole proj- 
ect wouldn't cost more than about two 
million dollars. That way I could prove 
the viability of an alternative launch tech- 
nology and the value of Pacific launch- 
ings at a price that would be downright 
cheap compared to the average rock- 
et." Eventually, he adds, he envisions 
building a gun big enough to boost pay- 
loads to orbit from Mauna Loa. 

Other reusable launch designs are in 
the works. Thanks to funding from the 
Strategic Defense Initiative Organization 
(SDIO). four aerospace companies — 
General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas. 
Rockwell, and Boeing — have designed 
prototypes of reusable rockets. Some 
of these take off and land horizontally, 
like airplanes. Others lift off vertically 
and land horizontally, like the space shut- 
tle. Yet others take off vertically, like a 
rocket, and touch down vertically, like 
an Apollo-style moon lander. Plans call 
for all to weigh about 1 million pounds 
fully loaded and lift a 10,000-pound pay- 
load to orbit. 

"I think the best technical and eco- 
nomic choice will prove to be a vehicle 
that lifts off like a rocket and lands bot- 
tom first," says space consultant Gary 
Hudson, who has advised both General 
Dynamics and Boeing on their reusable 
launch designs. 

Finally, if Roth has his way, Pacific 
Rim spaceports will be home to the elec- 
tromagnetic launcher (EML). Designed 
to operate at sites like the rim of Ha- 
waii's Mauna Kea volcano, the EML 
makes use of technology similar to 
that found in the magnetic levitation 
(mag-lev) trains now under develop- 
ment in Europe and Japan. The EML is 

basically a long tube with magnets em- 
bedded in its walls. The projectile that 
is loaded into this tube also contains 
magnets. When opposite charges are 
applied to both magnets embedded in 
the wall and magnets embedded in the 
projectile, the force of repulsion ejects 
the projectile at more than 25,000 
miles per hour — the velocity needed to 
escape Earth's gravitational pull. 

Before such visionary technologies 
as the EML can be launched from space- 
ports of the Pacific Rim, however, 
there are important hurdles to over- 
come. Chief among them may well be 
the aerospace subculture itself. The 
problem, according to University of Ar- 
izona professor Andrew Cutler: "We 
don't have a space program; we have 
a jobs program." 

Instead of supporting the private 
space sector by reducing regulation 
and offering financial and tax incen- 
tives, the government has maintained 
control over access to orbit. To do 
this, Cutler strongly maintains, it has 
been necessary tor NASA and the U.S. 
aerospace industry to maintain a fiction; 
that the country has all the launch ca- 
pacity it needs. But if you think that's 
true, consider how long payloads are 
delayed before launch. 

In 1981, for example, there was a re- 
al slaughter of the innocents when 
NASA terminated two thirds of the pay- 
loads supposed to be launched on the 
shuttle. Some of the space programs 
axed to support this myth include the 
lunar polar orbiter, which should have 
gone every year since 1972 but hasn't 
gone once; the Mars Observer, put off 
five times and finally set for a 1993 
launch date; and the now notorious Hub- 
ble Space Telescope, which sat around 
for nearly a decade before finally hitch- 
ing a ride. 

"If you look at government statistics," 
says Cutler, "they will always show an 
excess launch capacity. But if you 
look at how long the average payload 
must wait to get launched, capacity 
could be increased by a factor of five 
and still be utilized." 

Despite this fact, it is extremely diffi- 
cult to launch an American satellite on 
a cheap Soviet rocket. The federal gov- 
ernment, with the support of the U.S. 
aerospace industry and NASA, has 
prevented this, claiming that there is a 
risk of giving away technological se- 
crets to the Soviet Union. 

But experts like Cutler don't believe 
that high security is the true agenda at 
all. Instead, they contend, the restric- 
tive measures are in place to protect 

U.S. rocket makers from iess expensive 
foreign manufacturers. The restrictions 
also hinder technologically savvy na- 
tions like Japan and Korea from threat- 
ening the dominance of the U.S. aero- 
space industry as they have with elec- 
tronics in the past. 

Should American restrictions prevail, 
Pacific Rim space proponents see real 
trouble ahead for space development. 
First of all, they say, investors will be re- 
luctant to put financial muscle behind 
facilities like those proposed for Hawaii 
and Cape York. 

And ultimately U.S. restrictions will 
hurt the American aerospace industry 
most of all. "A nation that restricts the 
overall services its companies can pro- 
vide — as we now do — will ultimately do 
those companies more harm than 
good," Cutler says. "In the end, nobody 
will buy from those companies." in oth- 
er words, if our satellite makers can 
launch only on overpriced American 
rockets, they will eventually be driven 
bankrupt by serious competition from for- 
eign satellite makers able to grab cheap- 
er rides. 

"If we stick to this strategy, our sat- 
ellite and launcher companies will sell 
their goods for the next few years," 
says Cutler. "But soon, with or without 
our nation's blessing, financing from the 

rest of the world will pay for a Pacific 
spaceport dedicated to international 
and commercial space." 

These Spaceports will, of course, use 
the next generation of technology to of- 
fer unbeatable prices to the high fron- 
tier. "If the U.S. space program is con- 
trolled and protected from international 
competition and the impacts of new 
technologies," adds Cutler, "then the 
American space industry will be 
dead." There is an alternative, howev- 
er. "Admit that the free market is going 
to work in space," he says, "the same 
as it does everywhere else." 

Once the space game becomes the 
realm of the entrepreneur, the move- 
ment to the high frontier will proceed. 
Soviet payloads launched from Pacific 
Rim spaceports will stock the larders of 
Swedish hotels in orbit. Settlers from ev- 
ery nation will lift off — at relatively little 
cost— to establish colonies on the 
moon and Mars. And orbiting factories, 
their emissions no longer a threat to the 
fragile biosphere of Earth, will manufac- 
ture everything from medicines to ex- 
otic new construction materials in the 
weightlessness of space. Once we 
have gained free and easy access to 
orbit, the Pacific Rim may become the 
hub not just of our world, but of count- 
less worlds to come. DO 



Settling the final frontier: 
Can government and private enterprise 
work together? 


What is the best way lo develop Ihe 
space frontier? The quickest, least cost- 
ly way to build space stations and lu- 
nar habitats, to explore the solar sys- 
tem and utilize its resources for the ben- 
efit of humankind? 

A growing number of space enthu- 
siasts are insisting that the best way is 
to get the government out of space al- 
together. Step aside, -NASA, they say. 
Let private enterprise do the job! 

Their argument is that no government 
agency has ever done anything on 
time or within budget. Okay, maybe 
■ NASA did get us to the moon. But now- 
adays the agency is old and weary and 
always in trouble with Congress. Now 
is the time to let private industry exploit 
the new frontier of space. If there's tru- 
ly gold in them there hills, the profit mo- 
tive will get us to it long before any gov- 
ernment bureaucracy can. 

Too bad there's no historical justifi- 
cation for this view. The government 
has always been at the frontier of pio- 
neering development, in areas from 
building canals to railroads to the air- 
plane industry. 

Private enterprise has been conspic- 
uously absent from space until very re- 
cently. Thirty-two years elapsed be- 
tween the 1957 debut flight of the origi- 
nal Sputnik satellite by the Soviet Un- 

ion and the first launch of a satellite by 
a private firm, in 1989. 

Admittedly, private communications 
companies jumped into the communi- 
cations satellite business with some fer- 
vor in the Sixties. But comsats were prow- 
en technology with a ready market. And 
until recently, they were all launched by 
government boosters. - 

The kinds of people who have the as J 
sets it takes to do business in space sim- 
ply do not invest huge sums upfront un- 
less they see a quick return. You don't 
make money by sinking an extremely 
large amount of capital into a high-risk 
operation that won't pay off for years, 
if at all. Space development makes oil 
exploration — traditionally a high-risk en- 
deavor — look tame. 

The risk is incalculable. Questions 
about the possibility of developing prod- 
ucts in space are still largely unanswer- 
able. How big will the market be for new 
plastics or crystals grown in zero grav- 
ity? What kinds of profits can an inves- 
tor expect from space-manufactured 
pharmaceuticals? Can anyone make 
money from basic research in space? 
From oxygen manufactured on the 
moon? From high-grade ores mined in 
the asteroids? Not in this fiscal quarter! 

People involved with business must 
be conservative because most new 

ideas don't make profits right away. 
Still, the United States has led the 

world in pioneering developments for 
the past "century or more — and has 
done so by effectively combining "he ef- 
forts of both private industry and the fed- 
eral government. 

Take, for example, the transcontinen- 
tal railroad. Visionaries started propos- 
ing a railroad to the Pacific as early as 
the 1840's, when railroads were little 
more than dangerous toys. Such 
dreams prompted the famous Daniel 
Webster to complain on the floor of the 
U.S. Senate: 

"What do we want of this vast, worth- 
loss a'ea? ... To what use could we 
ever hope to put these great deserts or 
these great mountain ranges? . . . 
What can we ever hope to do with a dis- 
tant Western coast, a coast of three thou- 
sand miles, rock-bound, cheerless, and 
uninviting? ..." 

Today you can frequently overhear 
similar complaints about the "worthless- 
ness" of space. 

Private companies could not begin to 
raise the capital hooded to build a coast- 
to-coast railroad without some form of 
government guarantee. The federal gov- 
ernment had subsidized earlier transpor- 
tation projects such as canals, turn- 
pikes, and harbors, usually by giving 
land grants to investing companies. By 
1850 Congress had granted millions of 
acres from the public domain, 

Congress finally passed the Pacific 
Railroad Act in 1862, largely because 
of the Civil War Lincoln feared that far- 
away California might also secede with- 
out some form of Union commitment. 

The act set up a system of federal 
loans, repayable over 30 years, to 
fund the expansion. It also granted 
land from the public domain along the 
right-of-way. By 1871 more than 130 mil- 
lion additional acres had been given to 
the railroads. This was a painless sub- 
sidy, which did not involve spending tax- 
payers' money. 

With hindsight it is easy to make fun 
of the shortsightedness of ihe railroad's 
opponents. But the vast risks of the 
project should not be forgotten; like the 
Apollo project, it truly was a pioneering 
effort, and it was far from easy. When 
Webster made his comment he was 
merely expressing the wisdom shared 
by many Americans. 

To develop the space frontier we 
need far more than just a transportation 
system. An entire infrastructure of shel- 
ters, living quarters, and supplies must 
be built in space, just as forts, towns, 
farms, and mines slowly civilized the 
Western Irontier. 

A better analogy to space develop- 
ment woulc be a dxai.ion ■.■vhere a mas- 

sive infrastructure had to be built be- 
fore any significant settlement could 
even begin. Such historical examples 
exist: the great water and power proj- 
ects of the West, which allowed people 
to live and prosper in areas that had orig- 
inally been arid wilderness. 

Beyond the 100th parallel (west of 
Dodge City, Kansas) most land is too 
dry to farm with rainfall alone. By the 
turn of the century larger, more capital- 
intensive irrigation projects became 
trendy speculative ventures of private 
investors. Undercapitalized and unable 
to maintain cash flow, most were fated 
to collapse miserably. 

Large irrigation projects also ran in- 
to major legal tangles, especially over 
navigation rights. Irrigation dams ruined 
a river's utility as a transportation artery 
and most of the rivers useful for irriga- 
tion dams crossed state boundaries. 
The federal government was the only 
agency that could step in and sort out 
such situations. 

Another thorny issue: generating and 
selling electrical power. The agriculture 
made possible by irrigation was insuf- 
ficiently profitable to pay for the mas- 
sive projects. Electricity held the prom- 
ise of payback, but would the govern- 
ment generate electricity in competition 
with the private sector? 

This tangle of conflicts led to the es- 
tablishment in 1902 of the Reclamation 
Service, later renamed the Bureau of 
Reclamation. Thus, by the turn of the 
century, a federal agency had been cre- 
ated to build and pay for Ihe massive 
infrastructure needed to irrigate and pow- 
er the dry Western lands. 

One of the first projects launched_ 
was on the Salt River in central Arizo- 
na, an undertaking that eventually 
turned Phoenix into a major metropolis. 
Tentative private irrigation ventures 
along the Salt River had foundered in 
the late 1880's, along with the hopeful 
landowners' money. Annoyed landown- 
ers called for a comprehensive project 
that would subsume these piecemeal ef- 
forts. Too many small irrigation projects 
conflicted with one another, and the mas- 
sive structures required to harness the 
river system were beyond the reach of 
any one company. 

The Salt River project began in 1903. 
Its heart was Roosevelt Dam, the first 
dam to generate hydroelectric power to 
help pay for its construction. The 
sheer scale of the dam, still the largest 
stone masonry dam in the world, re- 
quired innovations in design and logis- 
tics comparable to the advances de- 
manded by the space shuttle. And like 
the space shuttle, delays and cost over- 

runs constantly plagued the project. 
Engineers had underestimated the prob- 
lems to be solved, and landowners had 
overestimated the immediate profits 
from the irrigation. 

Such problems are not surprising in 
retrospect. They were aggravated, how- 
ever, by unrealistic expectations, An In- ■ 
congruous Utopian flavor pervaded 
these early irrigation projects: They 
were intended as social experiments as 
much as technical projects, 

Many well-educated people thought 
that the "scientific" management of 
such a major project by government ex- 
perts would eventually show the way to 
the perfect society — a spinoff from the 
Progressive movement of the time. Ech- 
oes of such sentiments arose when vi- 
sionaries such as Gerard O'Neill first 
proposed L-5 space colonies in the 
early Seventies. 

The Salt River project was success- 
ful mainly because it was run, for the 
most part, by local landowners who 
were already experienced in the diffi- 
cult and complex art of irrigation. 
When the irrigation works were turned 
over to the landowners' irrigation district 
in 1917, they proved quite capable of 
managing the project themselves, with- 
out government experts and without pov- 






is Earth's complex climate 
machine on the 

blink — or is it just having 
a bad century? 







The world's temperature has 
been rising lately, just as apoca- 
lypse-minded "greenhouse ef- 
fect" scientists have predicted. 
And there's no doubt that the lev- 
els of carbon dioxide, methane, 
and other heat- retaining "green- 
house gases" in our atmosphere 
are alsd climbing. We seem to be 
weii along our way toward the tor- 
rid, sultry, terrifying fulure that the 
climatologists say is coming — a 
world of melting polar ice caps, 
drowned coasial cities, and vast 
migrations as new patterns of 
drought and heat make great sec- 
tions of the globe uninhabitable. 

Or are we? Some scientists are 
not so sure thai the recent dooms- 
day scenarios ought lo be taken 
so readily at face value. They 
call for cautious examination of 
the whole greenhouse concept be- 
fore we plunge into any sort of 
crash program for purifying our 
atmosphere — a program that 
the congressional Office of Tech- 
nology Assessment estimates 
could cost as much as S150 bil- 
lion a year over the next 25 
years, simply to reduce carbon di- 
oxide emissions to about 65 per- 
cent of today's levels. 

While the scientists bicker, 


what's the public to make of the baffling 
mass of seemingly conflicting data on 
global warming? History provides few 
clues; our climate records have 
proved an imperfect tool for prediction 
at best. It's enough to tempt even the 
most scientifically savvy among us to dis- 
miss the issue altogether. 

But that's just what we cannot afford 
to do. Crisis or not. it's time for a ration- 
al approach to unveiling the mysteries 
of the global climate machine. Wheth- 
er the greenhouse effect foreshadows 
a cataclysmic event or a mere blip on 
the climatic time line, the current debate 
deserves close attention. 

The greenhouse-effect theory of cli- 
mate is nothing new. The concept 
dates back to 1822, when the French 
mathematician Jean 
Fourier likened the 
earth's atmosphere to the 
glass walls of a plant con- 
servatory. A green- 
house's walls allow solar 
energy to enter, then 
trap its component of 
heat by blocking the out- 
ward radiation of infrared 
waves. Later in the nine- 
teenth century scientists 
discovered that the heat- 
trapping component of 
our atmosphere is car- 
bon dioxide (C0 2 ); and in 
1897 the Swedish chem- 
ist S. A. Arrhenius, study- 
ing the relationship be- 
tween global tempera- 
tures and the quantity of 
C0 2 in the atmosphere, 
calculated that a dou- 
bling of the present 
amount of atmospheric 
C0 2 would produce a 
mean global warming of 
4 = to6°Cor7°to 11T— 
with accompanying catastrophic en- 
vironmenlal changes. 

The amount of C0 2 in the atmos- 
phere is minute: a little more than 300 
parts per million, or one thirtieth of one 
percent. But that percentage has 
been growing rapidly in the century 
since Arrhenius. Vast quantities of C0 2 
were locked up long ago in the "fossil 
fuels"— coal, oil, natural gas — that 
were created by the decay of organic 
matter at a time when the earth's cli- 
mate was much warmer than it is today. 
We are now busily unlocking that treas- 
ure house of energy and our rate of con- 
sumption is rising from year to year, 
with the liberation of C0 2 rising in pro- 
portion as well. 

Between 1860 and 1959 the combus- 
tion of coal and other fossil fuels re- 
leased an amount of C0 2 equal to 14 

52 OMNI 














percent of the total already in the atmos- 
phere. Some of this was absorbed by 
the oceans; the rest remained in the air. 
By 1960 the quantity of atmospheric 
C0 2 was about 7 percent greater than 
it had been in the middle of the nine- 
teenth century. 

But that was only the beginning. Be- 
tween 1958 and 1962 alone, the C0 2 
content of the atmosphere grew by 1.15 
percent. In those five years, the burn- 
ing of fossil fuels released 53 billion 
tons of C0 2 , and 26 billion tons of that 
accumulated in the atmosphere. And 
the CO ? level has risen in each year 
since: In the past 30 years it has gone 
from 315 parts per million to 355, an in- 
crease of more than 20 percent in the 
past century and more than 10 percent 
in a single generation. 

Nor is C0 2 the only 
gas that produces the 
greenhouse effect. Meth- 
ane (CH 4 ), which is re- 
leased by decaying mat- 
ter in marshes and tun- 
dra, the actions of ter- 
mites, and cattle break- 
ing wind, has some 20 
times the heat-trapping 
quality of C0 2 . Methane 
is increasing in our at- 
mosphere at a rate of 
about 1 percent a year. 
So, too, are the various 
nitrogen oxides thrown 
off by factory smoke- 
stacks, automobile ex- 
hausts, and the break- 
down of agricultural fer- 
tilizers. Then there are 
the sinister chlorofluoro- 
carbons (CFCs) emitted 
by refrigerators, air con- 
ditioners, aerosol de- 
vices, and other prod- 
ucts of twentieth -centu- 
ry ingenuity. Neither methane nor nitro- 
gen oxide nor CFCs played any part in 
Arrhenius's original greenhouse-effect 

With all four kinds of greenhouse gas- 
es piling up in the atmosphere at a 
rate unprecedented in the planet's his- 
tory, then we must be right on course 
for the catastrophic warming that the 
Arrhenius data indicate. A rise of T to 
11*F in the mean global temperature 
may not sound like very much. But in 
fact just such a drop, some 25,000 
years ago, sent glaciers down across 
Europe and North America and 
plunged the world into an ice age last- 
ing thousands of years. An increase of 
little more than that magnitude 200 mil- 
lion years ago created the muggy, 
swampy, tropical world in which the di- 
nosaurs flourished. 

If a temperature increase of the Arrhe- 
nius magnitude were to happen now, 
floods caused by the melting of the po- 
lar ice caps would submerge thou- 
sands of miles of low-lying coastline with- 
in a matter of 40 or 50 years. The ris- 
ing oceans would cover all of Florida 
south of Lake Okeechobee, and Wash- 
ington, DC, would be covered almost 
to the White House and the Capitol 
steps. Low-lying islands throughout the 

phy, contemplating the steady increase 
in atmospheric C0 2 levels, declared as 
far back as 1957 that humanity is per- 
forming a "great geophysical experi- 
ment" — with the entire planet as its lab. 
And all the evidence indicates that 
the globe is warming just as the theory 
predicts. 1987 and 1988 were the two 
warmest years since reliable record- 
keeping began in the late nineteenth 
century, and the summer of 1988 saw 

a hundred degrees [F] — in the Nine- 
ties." Indeed the average temperature 
for 1 989 was warmer than that of record- 
breaking 1988; and 1990 was hotter 
still, coming in with a mean global tem- 
perature of just under 60*F. 

Hansen's dire warnings set off a po- 
litical uproar. Environmental-minded leg- 
islators called for immediate cutbacks 
in fossil fuel usage, changes in agricul- 
tural practices, restrictions on CFCs be- 

world would disappear. Rainfall patterns 
would shift, turning the grain-belt dis- 
tricts in the interiors of our continents 
into dust bowls and bringing devastat- 
ing torrential deluges elsewhere. 
Some rivers would become virtually dry; 
others would rise to the point of becom- 
ing unnavigable. Millions would starve. 
The climate crisis would disrupt the liv- 
ing habits of entire nations. No wonder 
that Roger Revelle and Hans Suess of 
the Scripps Institution of Oceanogra- 

not only scorching temperatures almost 
everywhere but a horrendous drought 
in most agricultural regions. "We can 
state with ninety-nine percent confi- 
dence," James Hansen of NASA's God- 
dard Institute told the U.S. Senate dur- 
ing testimony that fierce summer, "that 
current temperatures represent a real 
global warming trend, rather than a 
chance fluctuation. We will surely have 
many more years like this — more 
droughts and many more days above 

yond those already agreed to for mini- 
mizing ozone layer damage, a halt to 
the destruction of the world's forests, a 
worldwide treaty covering atmospheric 
pollution, and a host of other drastic cor- 
rective measures. World leaders issued 
statements and urged action. Petitions 
were signed; placards were waved; con- 
siderable panic was generated among 
ordinary citizens. 

But very little of a substantive nature 
has been done so far to ward off the 

coming environmental catastrophe. Main- 
ly, two big conferences have been 
held in Washington, DC, one in April 
1990 and a second in February 1991 
at which scientists and government offi- 
cials from 130 nations got together to 
discuss the problem of global warming. 
What came out of both conferences 
were the expectable expressions of 
deep concern — an "action agenda" but 
no real action — and resolutions calling 
for continued study, plus plans for four 
more conferences, culminating with a 
June 1992 conference in Rio de 
Janeiro at which representatives 
would sign an international treaty. 

Meanwhile, greenhouse gases con- 
tinue to pour into the atmosphere ev- 
ery day. But while environmentalists, 
their dismay growing hour by hour, con- 
tinue to call for strict and immediate reg- 
ulatory action, climatologists argue over 
whether there is a crisis at all. The aus- 
tere pages of Science, the nation's fore- 
most scientific journal, have rung with 
accusations that the advocates of a 
crash ant i green house program are prac- 
ticing "junk science" and "science by 
consensus." The more conservative sci- 
entists claim that their apocalyptic- 
minded colleagues have succumbed to 
a Chicken Little syndrome, crying out 
that the sky is falling when in fact noth- 
ing of the sort seems to be taking 
place. They say that what greenhouse 
alarmists are doing is sorting through 
the evidence looking for data that will 
advance their own research agendas. 

"There is a selective use of facts," 
said S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric 
and space physicist with the Washing- 
ton Institute, at the global-warming con- 
ference last winter. "Nobody tells an un- 
truth, but nobody tells the whole truth, 
either. It all depends on the ideological 
outlook. ... My nuclear friends are hap- 
py to promote the greenhouse effect. 
My natural gas friends are happy to pro- 
mote the greenhouse effect. A lot of sci- 
entists promote the greenhouse effect 
because ot increased funding." 
Forbes magazine ran a cover story en- 
titled "The Global Warming Panic: A Clas- 
sic Case of Overreaction." 

What's going on? Are we doomed or 
aren't we? 

There are three points to bear in 
mind as we contemplate the possibility 
of a world transformed by rising tem- 

■Changes in greenhouse-gas levels 
aren't the only factor involved in world- 
wide temperature fluctuations. 
• Feedback processes that we barely 
understand today may serve to coun- 
teract the worst of the greenhouse- 
effect problems caused by rising atmos- 
pheric gas content. 

• Warmer global temperatures don't nec- 
essarily spell doom, especially il upward 
changes turn out to be less severe 
than some climatologists predicted. 

Scientists, moreover, need to place. 
the unquestionable statistics on global 
warming in the Eighties in a larger his- 
torical context. The world indeed saw 
a general pattern of warming tempera- 
tures around 1890, just as the modern 
era of industrial expansion was hitting 
its first great peak and greenhouse gas 
emissions began to climb. A steady pat- 
tern of rising temperatures was record- 
ed" over the succeeding decades. 

But the rate of temperature increase 
between 1920 and 1940 exceeded the 
level that could be accounted for by 
greenhouse-effect calculations alone. 
And then in 1940 global temperatures 
began to turn cooler again — precisely 
at the time when World War II was spur- 
ring another tremendous expansion in 
industrial activity. For the next thirty 
years, as atmospheric pollution in- 
creased year by year, mean world tem- 
peratures dropped steadily. The winter 
of 1962-63, for instance, brought Eng- 
land its coldest winter since 1740, av- 
eraging 32°F for three consecutive 
months. Not until 1970 did temperatures 
start climbing again, a rise that so far 
has gone on unchecked. 

Ciimatological history reveals all man- 
ner ot sharp temperature fluctuations dur- 
ing eras- utterly unaffected by human en- 
vironmental meddling. The ice ages 
that periodically afflict this planet are the 
most spectacular examples. The tem- 
perature increase during the era of the 
dinosaurs constitutes another. Prehis- 
toric shifts in rainfall distribution stimu- 
lated the development of extraordinary 
human cultures in prehistoric Egypt and 
Mesopotamia and wiped out one in the 
Sahara. More recently, a period of cli- 
male cooling lasting from the fifteenth 
lo the eighteenth century brought a "lit- 
tle ice age" to preindustrial Europe 
that killed the rich vineyards oi England 
and destroyed the colonies that the 
Norsemen had planted in Greenland. In 
Queen Elizabeth's time, people skated 
on the frozen Thames in winter. By 1800 
the climate was lurning warmer again; 
the Thames has not frozen over since 
1814. And so it has gone, up and 
down, through all the billions of years 
of our planet's existence. 

Many forces affect Earth's climate, 
not all of which we understand. The 
chief climatic factor is the energy we re- 
ceive from the sun. But the amount of 
solar radiation we get is not necessar- 
ily consistent throughout time. The sun 
has undergone many changes in size 

"There you have it, gentlemen — the fine line between genuine 
religious conviction and trendy moral posturing. " 

and radialive power in the last few bil- 
lion years. Its output seems to vary, fur- 
thermore, in relation to the 11 -year sun- 
spot cycle — the low-temperature 
points of the "little ice age" period in 
medieval and Renaissance Europe co- 
incided with prolonged periods of low 
sunspot activity recorded in 1280-1350, 
1450-1550, and 1645-1715. Larger 
changes in solar activity, the result of 
forces we don't really comprehend (and 
certainly could never hope to control), 
may correlate with the severe glacial pe- 
riods in the remote past and with peri- 
ods of above-average warmth during 
the icy interludes. 

Volcanic activity, moreover, can pro- 
duce cooling phases. The. giant erup- 
tion of Krakatoa, near Java, in 1883, 
spewed 13 cubic miles of debris into 
the air and reduced the sunlight falling 
on distant European observatories 
from 10 to 20 percent for the following 
three years. Other great eruptions in 
1902 (in the West Indies) and 1912 (in 
Alaska) had the same effect. An almost 
total absence of major volcanic blasts 
between 1920 and 1940 may have 
been responsible for the period of un- 
usually rapid warming that was record- 
ed then, rather than the increase in at- 
mospheric greenhouse-gas levels that 
was going on at the same time. We 
just don't know. 

Changes in the earth's position rela- 
tive to the sun, movements of the earth 
along its own axis, and the migration of 
the continents over long periods of 
time, must all be considered possible 
causes of the great temperature shifts 
that are evident in the geological and 
fossil records. Against such immense 
geophysical upheavals, a rise in the lev- 
el of greenhouse gases may turn out to 
be a very small factor indeed. 

Then, too, we have no assurance 
that the undeniable increase in atmos- 
pheric C0 2 and the other greenhouse 
gases will have the predicted severe 
consequences. Large-scale feedback 
processes may protect us against the 
folly of our own pollutions. 

Atmospheric COj, for example, stim- 
ulates plant growth. Plants absorb C0 2 
in the course of the process of photo- 
synthesis. The more plants there are, 
the more C0 2 they will take in, thereby 
helping to reduce the atmospheric over- 
supply. This is negative feedback — a 
self-correcting mechanism in which a 
problem generates its own solution. 

Another kind of negative feedback 
that may ease our greenhouse problem: 
Clouds reflect sunlight back to space, 
thus cooling the climate. Increased 
ocean evaporation caused by rising tem- 
peratures may enhance cloud cover, 



Text by Sandy Fritz 

As marble beckons the 
sculptor to unlock its 
masterpiece, so Dugald 
Stermer's subjects call 
to him. "It almost feels 
like sculpture/' says 
Stermer of kis draw- 
ings. "It's like that old. 
statement: You take a 
block of marble and you 
carve away anything 
that isn't David." Each month Stermer 
"scidpts" a new drawing for the Japanese 
magazine Gulhivt; selections from which 
appear on the following pages. "I knew we 
were in for a real ride," Stermer thought 
when he first received the assignment two 
years ago. 'They wanted a section called 
Noah's Ark. But it wasn't the traditional 
giraffe or lion they wanted. In fact, few of 

the subjects have been 
in step with the tradi- 
tional NoahVArk im- 
age." Despite his atyp- 
ical subjects, Stermer 
draws inspiration from 
such naturalist 'illustra- 
tors as Alexander Wil- 
son, Edward Lear, and 
John James Audubon, 
artists who established 
the style and tone of nature illustration dur- 
ing the early part or the nineteenth century. 
Stermer's work not only echoes the tradi- 
tion but also includes criteria that might 
seem alien to these pioneers. "When the 
drawing begins to have a life of its own, and 
when it conveys what you want it to convey, 
that's when I leave it alone," Stermer says. 
"I'm learning to leave things out. I'm 

111 cwcviwfl to i^str ohwM to '•{W'y £ 
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TV 'i%'J;'- iwiw ife^ore dfjile 10,000 jWjP^-v^W^t^ttaw^ 
•■ ■■!■ Tpta^e^M^w^Mt^'^^^^^awftijievw^fr 

,/ nen tne 

drawing Leginsto nave a lire or its own, tnats 

learning when to push my chair away from 
the drawing board." 

The San Frandsco-Wd artist has also 
learned to employ a device not available to 
earlier nature illustrators — the camera. The 
camera is a powerful tool," Stermer says. 
"To draw without using photography as 
a refer 

Some illustrators deny using it. But I have 
to see tilings very clearly. 1 always need to 
see the specifics." 

To judge hy the delicate watercolor hues 
and the clear, crisp lines that frame his sub- 
jects, Stermer's techniques hit their mark. 
"My work is quick," he says. "I don't lahor 
over the stuff. In fact, the more I lahor, the 

over the sturr. In rac 

don t labor 
more I labor, tbe 

less good it is. These pieces take a day, a day in both the act of creation and its hnal 
and a hall, from start to finish. I don't have product. "I'm very grateful to see my craft 

to worry to death." 

improving," he says. "Not many people fifty 

The speed with which Stermer works can 

years old or so are conscious of their craft 

be misleading. The artist has spent years 

improving daily, hut it's one of my major 

"sharpening my pencil to a finer point, 

goals. My work is not on the cutting edge 

looking closer, building observation skills. 

of illustration hy any means, hut I'm never 

ana strengthening my focus." He takes joy 

Dored," Stermer says. OO 

60 OMNI 


The pioneer who conducted 

the first human gene therapy is looking toward 

gene transfer to treat diabetes 

and heart disease and maybe even double 

life span. In a thousand years, 

he adds, you may have to augment your DNA 


He always knew what 
he wanted to do. 
In the late Fifties, be- 
fore recombinant DNA tech- 
nology was drawing-board 
theory, he vowed to cure 
hereditary disorders by repair- 
ing faulty genes. His Har- 
vard professors laughed at the 
aspiring genetic surgeon 
with the Okie accent and cow- 
boy boots. But W. French 
Anderson, now chief of the Mo- 
lecular Hematology Branch 
at the National Heart, Lung, 
Blood Institute in Bethesda, 
Maryland, never wavered in 

his mission to bring gene ther- 
apy from the laboratory 
bench to the patient's bed- 
side. And in September 
1990, Anderson and his col- 
leagues ushered in a new 
era of medicine with the first 
human gene procedure 
aimed at correcting a heredi- 

The patient, a four-year-old 
girl, was born with an aden- 
osine deaminase (ADA) defi- 
ciency. She lacked the 
same key immune cell enzyme 
as David the bubble boy, 
whose defenses were so im- 



W. French Anderson 




Tuisa, Oklahoma 


M.D. {pediatrics); black 
belt Tae Kwon Do (fourth- 


Gene surgeon 


Nine for hereditary diseases, 
12 for cancer patients 


Self-Renewal, by Gardner 


Molecules have minds. Get 
inside the minds of 
molecules'; master them. 
Sooner or later they will 
give up and do what you 
want them to. 


If your laboratory gets too 
big for you to do your own 
science, then make it 


If there are many benefits 
and few risks, gene 
therapy might eventually 
become as common- 
place as antibiotic therapy 
is today. 

paired that he was forced to live inside a germ-free capsule. 
Anderson and collaborators R. Michael Blaese and Kenneth 
Culver of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) combined 
some of the girl's white blood cells with those of an engi- 
neered virus. These genetically modified cells were then reintro- 
duced into her bloodstream, where it was hoped they 
would multiply over the coming months, gradually restoring 
the functioning of her immune system. 

Although still too soon to predict the ultimate success of 
this much-heralded trial, the physicians are very encouraged 
by the child's progress. She is better clinically and many of 
her immune function studies are improving, some into the 
normal range. Another ADA patient, a nine-year-old girl, be- 
gan treatment on January 31, 1991. Early results suggest 
that she, too, is improving thanks to gene therapy. The in- 
vestigators now believe this general strategy promises to 
have applications far beyond the treatment of rare heredi- 
tary diseases. Since genes code for vital body chemicals. 
Anderson thinks gene transfer techniques will eventually be 
used to "trick" cells into releasing drugs useful in the treat- 
ment of almost any disorder — from AIDS and cancer to 
heart disease and ordinary aging. Inserting the gene for in- 
sulin into the B cells of the pancreas might enable the dia- 
betic patient to synthesize his own internal source of the 
hormone, eliminating the need for daily injections, 

Raised at the edge of the dust bowl in Tulsa, Anderson 
was a prodigy. His passion for science burgeoned at age 
three, and by the end of grade school, he'd consumed ev- 
ery technical book he could find, including college-level med- 
ical texts. As a Harvard University senior at seventeen, he 
took one of the first courses linking DNA to genetics. The 
instructor was James Watson, the Nobel laureate who only 
four years earlier had codiscovered the chemical structure 
of DNA with Francis Crick. A year later, Anderson went to 
Cambridge, England, to continue his genetic studies with 
Crick. He completed his M.D. at Harvard in 1963 and two 
years later moved to the National Institutes of Health, where 
he's been ever since. 

At NIH Anderson discovered the specific factors cells use 
to initiate protein synthesis, while his clinical studies led to 
breakthroughs in the treatment of deadly hereditary diseas- 

64 OMNI 

es. He championed the use of iron chelators for removing 
excess iron from the blood of thalassemia victims, which 
dramatically extended the lives of these patients. With the 
advent of gene-splicing techniques in the Seventies, Ander- 
son intensified his efforts to devise better ways to get genes 
into cells. Using a hair-thin needle guided under a micro- 
scope, he pioneered the microinjection of genes. From the 
mid-Eighties on he used retroviruses to ferry genes into hu- 
man chromosomes. And most dramatically, he has brought 
gene therapy to clinical use. 

Whether confronting a problem in scientific technique or 
an obstacle in personal life, Anderson won't let go of a chal- 
lenge until he's brought it to ground. A story from his youth 
is telling: To overcome a terrible stutter, he joined a debating 
team. Surviving this baptism by fire, he emerged as a cham- 
pion debater in Oklahoma. Later, he took up Tae Kwon Do, 
a form of Korean karate, and attained a fourth-degree black 
belt. In 1988 he accompanied the American Tae Kwon Do 
team to the Seoul Olympics as their chief sports physician. 

Kathleen McAuliffe first interviewed Anderson in his office, 
and later in the more relaxed environment of his home. 
Well. . . relaxed for French Anderson. Afterward, he went to 
his cellar gym to practice karate, demonstrating once again 
his iron will— and iron fist. 

Omni: Tampering with genes — even for treating diseases — 
has aroused widespread concerns. Do you think those 
fears are inflated? 

Anderson: It's clearly an emotional issue. Jeremy Rifkin [outspo- 
ken critic of genetic engineering] has fanned those concerns 
by exaggerating the risks. But he wouldn't attract so much 
media attention if society didn't have fears in the first place. 
Yes, I am concerned. My mother is concerned. The athletes 
I accompanied to the Olympics are concerned. It's bad 
enough to have your mind manipulated through advertising, 
or into eating artificial substances in foods. So the notion of 
manipulating genes — which make us who we are — is frighten- 
ing. I feel strongly that gene therapy should be applied only 
for the treatment of disease. Very firm lines should be 
drawn to ensure that genetic engineering is used for no oth- 
er purpose. That's been my position for twenty-five years. 

Anderson: I believe an excellent system 
is in place for reviewing protocols and 
that doctors in this area are following a 
very ethical path. The long, involved 
process of gaining approval for the 
first human gene therapy trial is tes- 
timony to the- numerous safeguards in 
place. This [he points to a document big- 
ger than a Manhattan phone book] was 
the earliest draft of the protocol for the 
experiment. The Recombinant DNA Advi- 
sory Committee and half a dozen other 
regulatory committees studied it. Sev- 
eral reviewed the experiment twice, and 
numerous public hearings took place 
with TV crews present. In the end, vir- 
tually every reviewer voted to proceed 
with the experiment. Even Rifkin com- 
plimented us on the care we took in pre- 
paring the Informed Consent Document 
that lays out for the patient all the risks 
and benefits of the procedure. 
Omni: Why did you choose a patient 
with ADA deficiency, a very rare disor- 
der, for the first gene therapy trial? 
Anderson: In the Seventies I initially tar- 
geted a more common hereditary dis- 
order — thalassemia — for the first trial. 
Kids with the disease produce abnor- 
mal hemoglobin [the blood molecule 
that transports oxygen]. Those pictures 
on the wall are of Nick and Judy, my 
first two patients with thalassemia. It's 
a tatal disease, and both died years 
ago. Unfortunately, thalassemia turned 
out to be too great a challenge for us 
then because the instructions for pro- 
ducing hemoglobin are encoded in sev- 
eral different genes. 
Omni: Isn't it distressing talking to 
these desperately ill children? 
Anderson: I'm much more comfortable 
with children than adults, who tend to 
maintain a protective front. Kids talk 
about things important to them. Death 
and suffering are very real issues. Yes, 
I'm very comfortable talking to them 
about dying. I interact well with sick chil- 
dren. I can just feel with them. 
Omni: Why was ADA deficiency a bet- 
ter disease to target than thalassemia? 
Anderson: ADA, which stands for the en- 
zyme that malfunctions in these children 
as a result of their genetic defect, in- 
volves only one gene. Without aden- 
osine deaminase, the body cannot pro- 
duce new T and B lymphocytes. So 
ADA kids suffer from severe combined 
immunodeficiency and need to be pro- 
tected from infections. 
Omni: How is gene therapy done? 
Anderson: We withdraw the children's 
white blood cells and put into each 
cell a healthy copy of the gene for the 
ADA enzyme. We'd already genetically 
modified monkeys' immune cells, and 
after we reintroduced the white blood 
cells intravenously, the animals actually 

66 OMNI 

produced human ADA in their blood- 
streams. That positive result convinced 
us we were ready to begin treating a 
human wiih the disease. 
Omni: Could you be guilty of rushing 
ahead too quickly, as critics claim? 
Anderson: Some patients with ADA 
might have been helped had we pro- 
ceeded three years earlier. Richard Mul- 
ligan [at the Whitehead Institute for 
Biomedical Research in Boston] is the 
main scientist opposing our group. And 
from his perspective, he is right. But as 
a Ph.D., he doesn't have the experience 
of an M.D. doing rounds on a pediatric 
ward every day who knows that ninety 
percent of medicine is an art — not a sci- 
ence. That makes a scientist uncomfort- 
able. So he felt our ADA gene protocol 
was premature. But the science was ac- 
tually much further developed at the out- 
set than is the case for most success- 
ful therapies. 

4The child's T cell 
count is normal for the first 

time in her life. 
And we can isolate gene- 
corrected cells 
making ADA directly from 

her bloodstream. 
We could not be happier. 9 

Omni: Were you nervous on the day of 
the trial? 

Anderson: Extremely. Even though the 
event itself was very anticlimactic. I 
mean, hanging up a bag of blood cells 
and intravenously dripping them into a 
patient happens ten times a day in 
that intensive care unit. And that's just 
one of many medical wards here, and 
we're just one of thousands of hospifals. 
Omni: Didn't you worry she might die? 
Anderson: Not from anything related to 
the procedure. I did worry that she 
might get a blood clot in her lungs or 
develop some other rare, life-threat- 
ening condition ''during the trial, which 
would have been an absolute disaster. 
I mean, if the first patient died while ge- 
netically modified cells were going into 
her body, who would agree to be the 
second patient? It could have set 
gene therapy back a decade 
Omni: What are the indications that the 
gene treatment helped? 
Anderson: At this stage, there is every 
Indication she is doing well. No, better 
than well — she is doing beautifully. In 

every way we can measure she is im- 
proving. Her parents are delighted be- 
cause she is no longer sick all the 
time. In fact, she's just been sick once 
and that was when the whole family 
came down with flu. She was the first 
to get better! Her parents, couldn't be- 
lieve it. They were still sick in bed and 
she was running around playing. They 
say she smiles and laughs a lot more 
than before. As far as laboratory meas- 
urements are concerned, her T cell 
count is normal for the first time in her 
life, most of her immune function stud- 
ies are improving, and some are now 
in the normal range. And we can iso- 
late gene-corrected cells making ADA 
directly from her bloodstream. She has 
never shown any serious side effects 
from any of the infusions. We could not 
be happier about the way things are go- 
ing. Our second patient, a nine-year- 
old girl, has had two infusions. She is 
also doing very well and the first pre- 
liminary data on her appear to show 
that she is improving. 
Omni: How many more patients are you 
going to treat?" 

Anderson: That's Mike Blaese's deci- 
sion, since he is the PI [principal inves- 
tigator] on the protocol. But our plan is 
to add another patient at the end of the 
summer and maybe one more at the 
end of the year. 

Omni: Does the treatment carry risks for 
problems later an? 

Anderson: To introduce genes into the 
patient's cells, we use a vector derived 
from a retrovirus that can cause leuke- 
mia in mice. We snip out most of the 
retrovirus's genetic material so it can't 
cause disease. But there is always a re- 
mote possibility that when the new 
gene is inserted inside the patient's 
cells the process might cause cancer 
many years later. 

Omni: Before the ADA trial, your 
group introduced a foreign gene into 
ten adulls with advanced melanoma. 
The gene itself was. not intended to 
have therapeutic benefits, so was this 
early trial done basically to show that 
gene transfer was safe? 
Anderson: In part, yes, since the risk to 
a terminal patient is almost infinitesimal. 
But another major motivation was to ob- 
tain information that could help medi- 
cine better develop cancer treatments 
in the future. Mike Blaese, our ADA ex- 
pert at NIH, saw that our gene transfer 
techniques could help Steve Rosen- 
berg at NCI refine his new cancer ther- 
apy and got us all together. Rosenberg 
removes cancer-fighting white blood 
cells called TILs [tumor infiltrating lym- 
phocytes] from the patient's tumor. In 
the lab those cells are multiplied ten- 
thousandfold using the growth factor 




And everywhere 1 look upon the Sphinx's skin. 

memories Spin: they term from the formless... 

At the los' Horizons of New New Guinea, in ttie lorgorten mghlanos ol Papua 
ihe Koranga River turnbes wi'd as the riprap that fans into ne- valley 
Irom the sheerest mountainsides. She spills no! fa' Iron- -he coast. net 'ar 
from a world Still trying *o adjust, yet q.jite dfetan; in such a riotous terrain 
where fresh growth rescues out ard strangles you with its verdant grip. 
Aong her banks s.ts a lone outpost ol civilization a desperale "oothald 
of subsistence, and oir- farmers, ard the 'miners who crush grave, for its golo. 

There I drowned- in cheap liquor- -my memories of a woman's brown eyes. 
There I bared my torment ove' the jnscaiab e ;im tations of lovo. 
And there l sought Wufa . a man who owned the town aim had a"ep.itation 
tor knowirg every oe'son. every crazy 'ale tna; passed a'ong :he Ko'anga. 
In this case, a 'umor that a powerfu; faith had sorung ud \r the jungle depths, 
a back-to-the roots religion of anmnsm ano rebirtn m nature, a '.ruth 
[hat might free me f-orr. The remorseless one ol what obsessed my spirit. 
Wu'ai ana I weffi- Destined to bargain, but I knew hflle 0* what I bargainee 'or 


In the muianl ram forest where everything dream?, ye; nothing, sleeps, 
in its replenished interior that is '.he shade 0- the sou'. 

where ancient tires sun rage and sputter dead. 
I sometimes see my own death dhapeshift before me: 
a Hashing vision 

On the night I round Wutai, with monkey calls keerwig through ne tceetops, 
with a waxing moon that sparkeo s-.'ver J >e in the douus about Mount Ka.no.. 
anc after swelling -iy courage with shots of Wutai s rum. I sat or- the steps 
of his canteen, talking with him, waiting for a g->de Wutai expected soon. 
A seasoned explo'er who Wutai won d rvrc out to mo tor a price, and who. 
he gua>anteed wou d «ad me to Buloto -tne mad bis-nop ol this faith 1 sought. 
I watched the mcancescent pupils ol headlignts scythe through the streets 
lined with cancy-coio'ed hj*s. with Having attempts at cheer. 
The vendes turned oil. always 'also -.opes I twitched as l cursed. 
T.red ol Sitting ano d'inking-, oone sore tromwai'ing or bare 'acades 
n the aoanoonud OJtback ul No Place. Wa-t ng tor my rapture, my savior. 
! knew something had better h.apDen. and soone' than the next dnnk. 



Inside, the band blasted Ihrojg- another loud, lurching song .of joy. . 
Thatched tqo's lifted, the walls of the building seemed to sway 
seductive as hips or the r bloc* pilings. I leaned against the steel rail, 
stretched rry legs aior-n the !e~g;h of the step, and turned my face to 'he doo r 
Str-ng ove; 'he oance *ioo'. Christmas lights fl ckered like nest whsos as 
the six-piece group segueo to a staccato. 'cggaeue ned-ey 
Weathered men ir stil' chaos brjshec their electnciiy aga ~.s! giggl ng lolitas 
A bar girl named Mani poured Wutai and me a rounc of frack coffee. 
Wu:ai. salow 'aced. with eyes hollow from smoking coca paste, s.jrpeo his. 
I -ie!d mine uc. hop'-.q to divine my future from ts ca. igraphies of steam. 
Man! hnge'cc at the threshold and starod at me with a ooUty expression, 
a smoky emotior rha* all women hero bee nke a cross agair.st their bosom, 
a sicn thai a raan mus- nterp'st before o"emg uo '■is heart to them. 
Fven m this regenefat y« paradise, me soul suffered its ctoisterage. 

Muse stopped n an abrupt decay of o.'um.s and guitars. A brownojt 
A woman m a blue -on s:eopeo 'rom trie shadows and conf jS'On w th a cigarette, 
o.sn ssed the gin. and got a ; ght ott me with a quick penetrating :oo«. 
When she o sappeared agai- nto the steamy mass hs'de. i followed her > 
compact movements with an aop-eoation born f'em years of insomna. 
"You like that one, oh?" asked Wutai. 'Sne's naif naiive." 
Just wa!chmg for the sport. I sa-d. lalf jn truth. "Spectator sport. " 
'Good. Man- wants to fjck you It's okay. She's dean, and sne likes it ouick." 
He gestu-ec as f toss ng off lines ;o an advertisement "And she has spirit" 
"Spmi is good. I said. But I like n siow. and with conversation. I hke mystery." 
I stoppeo talki-g then, fhe ernptinfess had pooeo Inside me. pressing 10301 out 

/ sometimes see my own death snupcshilt bctorc me. 
a nasnmg vision 
of scales patterned m a lambent bronp-e. 
m a stream c! rays that runs liquid as the days. 

I he generato- kicked in, anc the bandleade stepcod to a b g microphone 
Before he could sing, the woman m blue Stumbled out— snoveri past us. 
Three surly men corratfed her near a.red flatbed - ruc* with boa-ded sides. 
The woman sank to her knees in the mud of "he parkmg lot She swore. 
One rancher stooo ever her, spo*e in oidgn thai chucked trom his throat. 
She aughed like a maawoman, saying somw.hmg abo'jt paying for drinks. 
The man raised his fists and shook tnem. His words wee unmteNig-Ole growl 
She iaughed again, taunong him in a voice (hat l hea-d as a toucan's squal . 


The. man hit her. quick and de berate wtn the "la- of his palm 
She belowed She wasn't an animal that he could bi,y and soil. 
She moved to stand uo. but he hit her again with a sweeping backhand. 
His f'iends itled to subdue him. but he was incensed now. 

Drunk enougn 10 rage with mean sp rits, - o oo damage I stepced to the ground. 
H'i rot your I ght." Wutai warned me with a gr.p on my shou'der. 
I shrugged him off Everything had become a Strugg'e for me. 
I Slid across *he wet ea'th. wove through pjCdles wi;h a s nuous ga t 
natcia'i?ed between the rancher and the girl as he ra^sad his list like a hammer 
"You savvy, tins stop." I sa;d. Tie man drooped his hand to his wast. 
A Hash & meta. a.-ced towaro me, :ashed out. catc!:ng my wnst, 
and l fo-loweo oac^scinHla o' refleceo light, each gram off 'he blade, 
as l swung an e^bow uc jnder the man's forearm and drove outward 
With the knife cet.ect.eo. I jaobed hard to f"S midsect.or. 
the rancher staggered back, a g'oan exha :ng from his iips 
I connected with a solid boot toe-tnat raised his manhood six >ncnes. 
sent him sprawling i.xe meat against the side o ; another vehicle. ■ 
He collapsed as m.ght a seacc! vil age uide' the monsoon rains, 
i started to shake, my eg.:: barely holcng mo as I waked away. 
The girl -an off, cupoirg her brjiseo cnee* and curs ng along the st'ewl 
until I cojld no : onger hear tier over the d'unken croon of trie banoeader. 

I sat oeside Wutai. insoected the long gas^ nown ttie back of my land 

Cut to the bene and gristle, but :itt:e blood— as if the wound grew t'-e.-e, 

and the incision had only server: 'o un'o.d its clean oirk secrets. 

Wutai removed a ha' Oanded m gr me anc wiocd !he sweat from his puffy 'ace. 

b ! Ot!lng I; from nis creased jowls win a hanc-sexhief m^dewed by blue soots 

"Was i! worth i!. mister? You didnt even get the girl ' 

His irises lookeo cark as sapohires where tie !ig-ts caught on thg.' surfaces 

"And now yoj must worry aoout con'.annat on in iuch a wound. 

Out here, Ihospores can root tnrough yojr marrow, seize you' blood 

Wutai sooke with such sangfroid it sen; a chi spixng down my bacs 

Hadn't he warned me fiat s~ch a p.-ob ; em might occur? 

I felt that he had .ndeed known the outcome of the tight. 

That he preligured every event that occurred in this godlcsakcr no e. 

eve'y round o! Saturday nignt seri.jctio" and djp city and muroer. 

and every p^ncer of the -ai.n 'o'ests campaign acamsi man's occupancy. 

"Now, what about Mani?" tie sad. His yyes turned cepKless. mdeciphe r ablo. 

I shook my nead. "I'ti tl'ough with sex.. I m .ne'e 'or salva" on 

' But my gjioe w.' oass tnroug--. iomorrow. mayce Maybe the next day. 

Vcur payment will not be lost Mani is here tonignt : 

I ignored him. discovering that anothe' gash openoo along my forearm 


I accepted pain. Began to stutter. To itch where more cuts burned 

like, an unrequited passion. ! told myself that I deserved them. 

Wounds of guilt. Of yearning. Of my true caring severed by a woman's fear. 


It is a Sptunx thai !:tts the world upon its back mid growls. 
Its veins are road maps that lead nowhere. 
■AS broom 3 cipher 

W-Jta. said. "Sometimes men aren t what -hey seerr But mey are still men " 

He looked nuzz eo as ho socke. then smieo as "e polled toward {he da^k 

shapeless eariopy eng^trng the town. "You urow. the trees are wea*. 

Tney have g'ewn very sna cw roots in the jung'e. oven the giant khnki. 

Despite Ihcir ginh. a caole a-d two jeups car pjll tnem ove r . 

Ah, a man's resolve ^s ro different. A man neecs love to carry on.' 1 

My wo'jnoea hand palsied. I cajgnt it yi my other, squeezec t hard 

The pain spread tongues o' warmth through nip. reolaung my desti'.J"ion 

I waniec "o say, "A man can survive on his pain, i' he makes mat choice.' 

Wutai oatted me on the shn.Joer with, an air ol patronage 

"You loo* pale mister. Perhaps wo shoujd go mside to the run?" 

As WO Stood, i hea'd a shangled cry from ne b'usn that Oo-dc-'OO the canteen. 

A tribesman ran breathless into the lot "ripp.ng ard .andmg tacedown. 

He thrasnec the mud with nis arms, siaggereo uo. and ran straight 

into Wutai. wno caught him by a mop of striqgy hair. 

row caked f i*o mjedy dread ocks acoss his oamtcc cnest and arms. 

A ragged hole remaned where the man's nose nad been. His ea'S wee ace. 

The muscles on nis face danced as -l boos swarmed just beneath their surface. 

The very top of h s sku ■ supported a fungal mass "hat g. stened in (he moon'ight. 

Wutai sad. "Trus is not the guiCe to Buloto But he is certain y of their church 

Perhaos the forest has brouch" this one to you as an omen. " 

Wuta: sal again with a loot of ajjprel ensb'i veming the slack o ; nis 'ace 

His voice soucoed more precise, more educated than ne'd ; irs: let on, 

"Sit again, mister We will comlort tnis man Anc Wutai will talk." 

"Far at tne depths ol Olc Paoua. where the river buildi her white anger. 
Buloto keeps a cnurch ca'ved from the bearwood o> a massive W<nh/>ree. 
Anc arocic it. living roofless n the caropy. his followcs congregate." 
(At me mention of Buiolo, the native s'jmped forward and lay at my feet. 
He oreathed in oeep. gasomg mythms whl.c Wutai continued his story.) 
' lhe novices or Bu c^o do much wo'se than kai-kai, than eating men. 


They feast on the forest: edible barks, foxfire *ung ; the ^dert'iko things. 
They drink such nectars that infect them with unnamed contagor. 
or will- hallucinatory trances that are the dreamlime of the forest. 
I -.ey seek to commune with the virulent growth t"at seeds their land. 
And 'in dong so, their fallen spirits may rejoin the perfection of nature, 
ray pari cipate in the rebirth of the world thrcjg- cnange ^.nc; regcneral on. " 
(A; this, the native's back began to heave, the skin bunching in cables kripis 
l watched the musculature writhe and seeming'y a:.g- anew.) 

Aid this takes its toll on any zealot," Wutai said "For they are a! 1 zealous. 

: heir skin droops in wattles. Their hair bloom., c fa! s oj: forever. 

The Dac'uria swarm in colonies through their pores, annexing the flesh. 
They become something more than a man, and something much less 
They seek oneness' and rebirth, but I am unsure what ney fruly '. no." 

The na; ve's skTn began to alter in hue before my, to a du' yellow-red. 
tne cob- of an open wound suppurating witf- pus anc biood. 
F-'crr mis base — nutrient rich — fine rhizomes scrolled and tenri-iled. 
sooty black as the.branching air-passages ir a 'ock miner's jrgs. 
They matted to a mycelium knotted with buttons of thy orange ln_.ii. 
They mounded -on, 'him, formed a topography of tie mutait .>;rdscape 
craw ig with faceless stick figures, seething soo'e beare'.-. 
lnese things embraced then fought; mated and it apceared -oeo 
F na .y. ney fused into a winged beast, a pa'inc- w tn the sk.n of a boa 
.-:-ic the wings of a great bird, "and'this imag« orthed ■. bc-ve-comed cur. 
*s |-o -n.-.n moaned in somet h inq r esembl in u a wino oome z~a- ' 
Thus. W.itai's monologue was marie coroo-ca- before my eyes 

its inscrutable eyes spi r - mawai.is *■'«; a'-.ti and biue- 
' .shift in toward Armageddon 

With.n minutes the native had healed, a process .n wh^.h \'-.e growths snrank, 
withdrew from his back, and he mar stood on bo'h fee; n good vgc- and 
shook Wutai's hand. He then staggered to some other rendezvous, enslaved, 
perhaps, by a need to. convert the world through his obeisant displays. , 
I sat with Wutai in silence, and watched -the monkeys dance on the shoreline, 
acting out a primal, play, of'lust conquering, of .lust spurning. 
What riddle had the rain forest placed. before me in the body of that man? 
And Wutai, was he a facilitator in this riddle? Or a separate challenge? 
My skin crawled with emotion, perhaps a foreshadowing. 


I realized that my bargain with Wulai was not what it had first appeared, 

that his offer of a guide was an offer of himself, of his instruction, 

and for him, my pilgrimage here was fo Wutai, not to the bishop or to the wiids 

Buloio's trail guide was no more than a figment of Wutai 's dementia. 

Mo man explored these jungles for long; no man returned unmodifiec 

Certainly, no man would come to lead me physically to'my own heating. 

: I had not sought salvation so much as I'd sought escape. 

l I had not sought truth so much as I'd sought an elaborate lie. 
Wutai had: sensed this, and offered a woman and some down-home wiscorr. 

I walked down to the river's edge, skipped stones into its caldron pools. ■ 
• The mist gathered, wet my eyes, and for a moment my resolve broke 
■ I knew .then J must find the center of the- rain forest for myse%- 
accept its changes : "on me as 1 'had accepted the wounds "of a- shatter' :: ovt 
of a woman I'd left far- behind in the cubicled cities of America, 
of a womanwho.had known my heart but feared the power of her own. 
who feared the thin illusion that my .life was staid and stable, 
feared rejection 'and its loneliness where none was possible from me. 
feared the intensity t had leavenedinto friendship. 

I must accept that we cou Id Ve loved, could have reached unscalable weights-, 
y.et we'd feared— we both feared — the raw, exposing power of that ac:. 
These were inescapable insights. Yet it seemed t could escape them 
And in the mutable heart of darkness, I would act out their stigmata, 
a broken man laboring at every moment to live with my truth, 
my flesh openingfor each new spore- to implant 
'.".the solace of its corrupting visions; . 


In the mutant rain forest where everything dreams, yet nothing sleeps, 
in its replenished interior that is the shade of the soul,' 

where ancient fires still rage and sputter deac 
I sometimes see my own death shapeshift before me, 
a Hashing vision 
of scales patterned' in a lambent bronze, ... ■.'■ 

in a stream of rays that runs liquid as the days. 

It is a~ Sphinx that lifts the world upon its back and growls. 
- Its veins are road maps., that lead nowhere, 
'■■■ its breath a cipher, 
its'hscrutable eyes spin rriandalas that drift and biue- 
'',':'" ,' shift in toward Armageddon.- .... 

And everywhere J look upon the Sphinx's skin, 

■'{ memories spin-: they. form from the formless.. DO. 



Belgium's military has begun to work hand in hand with 

private groups to track UFOs 

Life in the tiny kingdom of 
Belgium is anything but 
rtarmonious. In fact, fero- 
cious rivalry between the 


Walloons down south has 
dominated Belgian poli- 


cording to UFO activists, 
a mysterious triangular 
craft may do much to 
change this. Belgians 
from the north and the 


1 triangle. The pilots tailed 


ported great speed. None- 


on: Engineers and phys- 

i> >tB 





i shape, one white 
t per tip, gliding across 
night sky. The myste- 
is object, with a wing- 



in or bu to i uu meters, hh 
s apparently silent, ^^fc^_ 
is Michael Bougard, 
sident of Belgium's Society for the S 
i (SOBEPS), a nonprofit citizens' 

in fields where the trian- 
gle was reportedly seen. 


tudy of Space <■ 

3 henom- 
"And no 

"This investigation is unprecedented— it's gone lurther 
than any 1 know of," says Walter Andrus, international direc- 
tor of Mutual UFO Network, Inc. (MUFON). "We are im- 
pressed that Belgium's military cooperated. That is a majoi 
step." Indeed, adds Lucean Clerebaut, SOBEPS's secretary- 

or ii 


e from farmer; 
icers and pn 

! to teen- 


ar station in Glons 
is. They quickly o 
The second stati> 
iving blip. 
lad become a sciei 

detected a foreign ob- 
^ntacted colleagues at 
Dn confirmed the pres- 

ltific problem deserving 

to UFO study, "this is the first time that a national authority 
has worked with a private society in researching UFOs." 

Whether or not the Belgians eventually unravel the mys- 
tery, the unusual official effort may affect the perception anc 
pursuit of UFOlogy worldwide. 

According to MUFON's Andrus, for instance, in the Unitec 
States, "every military and intelligence agency we can iden- 
tify has been involved in investigating UFOs since 1947. bu" 
they will not share their information. If nothing else, ws 

serious investigate 
icist at the Free U 
coming back into 1 

an, says 

niversity i 
he atmos 

capacity for flight seemed to outreac 
decided it was worth my time." 
Apparently the military agreed. Bel 

h current technology. 1 
gium's air force conf rib- 


iey could return if tempera- bats 



ipaler. Although he didn't 


!| f? yj Fi«n 

Byrnes says the theft of 

l a a i MBi 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT time to make good. 

So are these guys for 

an real? Mikules says he i 

,..,,-.., ,„„ ~an't drop son - ~~ ■ 
fuse. AI-TRAD, the 

r, violation of his agreement 

will give £500,000 to with AI-TRAD. 

the offer appeared impressed. 


Jing to Mikules. T 
I payoff? The hand camf 
so recently, Mikules sa 

I O'Neill described the work- 

hat would look and sme 

complete with hills, valle 


designs were so elegant 
liev became the subjec 


to raise the dough." 
Yet Stefflre rem 
' 1 His organi 
I already has 105 rn' 

I als of partnership, but he 

How come- 
he gets half 
the pro?)bS for 

jiyst sitting in a box 

Tfe& Aftet 




His ability 
to reach 
across the 
■Footlights and 
It'5 his "talent / .. hold an audience 
^ / l**^"^ spellbound 

• fv> 



when he's 
trying to reach 



cly-si'icken newcomers seeking Uto- 
pia. There may be a lesson here for 
space development. 

Government funding also seeded pri- 
vate expansion in irrigation projects 
in Washington State. Back in 1919 the 
Wenatchee World newspaper in Wash- 
ington proposed a massive project to 
tame the Columbia River by building a 
huge dam at the head of Grand Cou- 
lee, a large channel carved by Ice Age 
floods. The object was to irrigate the 
sagebrush plain of south central Wash- 
ington, which was too dry for anything 
but grazing. 

Public reaction at the time was typi- 
fied by H. E. Riggs, president of the 
American Society of Civil Engineers. 
"[Grand Coulee Dam is] a grandiose 
project of no more usefulness than the 
pyramids of Egypt," he said. 

Still, the project gained supporters 
through the Twenties. The Great Depres- 
sion provided the ultimate stimulus for 
construction, because of the thousands 
of jobs it created. 

Economic soothsayers who foresaw 
no market for the electrical power 
were spectacularly wrong. In fact, dur- 
ing World War II, Grand Coulee hydro- 
power proved so valuable to the grow- 
ing war effort that construction of the ir- 
rigation works was postponed until af- 
ter the war. 

Once the irrigation infrastructure was 
built, the government held drawings for 
the new lands. The winners signed con- 
tracts with the government that provid- 
ed for repayment of a mere 10 percent 
of the irrigation infrastructure costs, typ- 
■ ically over a 50-year schedule. Hydro- 
power sales covered the other 90 per- 
cent of the costs. 

Big dams are unpopular now. A com- 
placent later generation free of any ex- 
perience with major economic crises 
and equipped with the economic sur- 
plus to spend on environmental issues 
finds it difficult to relate to the popular 
enthusiasm and extravagant hopes 
that attended these early projects. But 
these projects, and others like them, 
were eminently successful in both ec- 
onomic and human terms. 

The dams have made it possible for 
people to live where they could not 
live before. Phoenix is now a major ur- 
ban area largely because of the Salt Riv- 
er project. The lower Colorado River val- 
ley below Hoover Dam is also becom- 
ing a major population center. The idea 
that millions of people would want to 
live in a desert would no doubt have flab- 
bergasted Daniel Webster. 

Historical precedent shows that gov- 
ernment and private enterprise can 
1 work together successfully on massive 
projects and even produce beneficial 
results that neither side could have 
achieved without the other. Private en- 
terprise is extremely efficient in known 
markets, and even in risky markets 
where the capital investment.needed is 
not restrictively high. But historically, pri- 
vate enterprise just has not worked for 
major pioneering development, especial- 
ly when the very economic infrastruc- 
ture must first be built. Even in the free- 
wheeling days of the Gilded Age, gov- 
ernment sponsorship provided the im- 
petus for many projects. 

Still, government sponsorship can be 
bungled, as it has been bungled many 
times. Historical examples suggest 
both productive approaches and mis- 
takes to avoid. For example, imagine a 
project to build the first solar power sat- 
ellite (SPS), a ten-mile-long satellite in 
geosynchronous orbit that will convert 
sunlight into electrical power and de- 
liver it to an antenna farm on Earth. 
Here are some practical tips: 

While it might be useful to grant a mo- 
nopolistic charter to a consortium that 
will build and operate the SPS, make cer- 
tain the charter contains a specific 
goal and a time limit for finishing the job. 
■Anyongoing charter should be subjec; 
to periodic review. In the late 1600's, 
King Charles II of England granted a per- 
petual charter to the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany to explore and develop the Cana- 
dian wilderness. The company made so 
much money on the fur trade that it nev- 
er bothered doing anything else. 

The same sort of problem can resull 
from creating a perpetual governmeni 
bureaucracy. Federal involvement is jus- 
tified only when a project is so high- 
r'sk and/or so costly that no private en- 
tity could afford to undertake it. Even 
then, the federal government's invest- 
ment should be limited. Performance 
goals should be specific and clear. 
Once goals are mel, no further gov- 
ernment money should be spent on the 
facility's day-to-day operations. The 
cost of operations should be borne by 
the operators, not the taxpayers. 

A massive SPS could be built from 
materials mined on the moon. Actual 
"land grants" are forbidden by the 1967 
Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits any 
claim of sovereignty on celestial bod- 
ies. However, the same treaty also spec- 
ifies that activities on those bodies 
must be carried out under government 
supervision, Under present law, the 
U.S. government could grant lunar min- 
ing r ghts to a company or consortium. 
Again, such a contract or grant should 
be reviewed regularly. 

The Perfect 


A singular experience, 









1 he waiting 

is over! Now, for the first 

time, Space Questers 

can learn what goes on 

in the mind of 

the most legendary janitor 

in the universe. 

With this book, you II 


Roger Wilco as he stumbles 

into all sorts 

of ridiculous predicaments, 

barely escaping 

by the skin of his teeth. 

This Official Guide 

is packed full of hints, tips, 

and maps for all 

four Space Quest Adventures. 

To Order send $14.95 plus $2 

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■:■;-.:. ;j' NC. M. -j-J N v a:lc appropriate 
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and Services tax. 

■juiii-. P L'ii';'.' a: wj Lair ■.'.■H!«iki :;■■ delivery 
Offsi g;.;:c while s-iii-.-rjIies last. 

Don't micromanage! Hoover Dam 
came in under budget and ahead of 
schedule largely because the contrac- 
tors, who had a great deal of expertise, 
were allowed to solve their own prob- 
lems. The government carried out 
some basic research on critical engineer- 
ing, but its primary role was to provide 
specifications that the dam had to 
meet. The contractors were then respon- 
sible for meeting the specifications, and 
since they were on a fixed-price con- 
tract they had a powerful incentive not 
to overspend. 

Market guarantees are crucial. The 
long-term market tor the tirst SPS's elec- 
trical power should be specified just as 
clearly as its performance requirements. 
The government can withdraw when pri- 
vate entrepreneurs have a sure and 
steady market to serve. 

Another way to encourage private in- 
vestment in space: Pay off the infrastruc- 
ture rather than grant it outright. The 
first SPS will cost in the range of tens 
of billions of dollars; it should be paid 
for by the power it generates, just as 
Hoover Dam and other projects paid 
for themselves with the electricity they 
generated. In fact, with current federal 
deficits, this may be the only way to fi- 
nance major space projects such as 
power satellites. 

"The government can't spend its way 
to prosperity" is a common saying. Per- 
haps so. But the federal government 
has, in the past, wisely invested in the 
development of the Western frontier. 
The same wisdom can be employed to 
utilize the best resources of government 
and private enterprise to develop the 
space frontier DO 


Page 6 dockwisetrom top left: Greg 
John Stuart, Dugatd Stermer; page 8: Univei 
sity of MarylanO; page 9 top left to bottom: Ga 
I_ilien;page9 right: Shel Secunda; page 12: Si 
ence & Technology In Jap: 
French Rail Inc.; page 18: ©1990 Galen Row- 
ell; page 20: JPL: page 25: Terry Pastor 
Archer Art; page 26 top: David W Hamiltc 
Image Bant;: page 26 bottom: Marcel If 
Schwartz/ 1 mage Sank; page 27: Jeff Lepore/ 
Photo Researchers; page 28 top: Tom Branch/ 
Photo Researchers; page 28 bottom: Larry 
Hamill; page 30 bottom: Norvia Behling/Animals 
Animals; page 32'tOp: NASA; page 32 bottom: 
Odyssey Visual Design; page 67-72: Cathie 
Bleck; page 75: Chris Moore; page 76: Nancy 
Biavers; page 77: Tim White; page 80: NASA; 
Insert page 1 top lett: NASA, top right: The 
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helping to bring temperatures back 
down. (On the other hand, clouds can 
also serve as traps for infrared radia- 
tion; thus an increase in cloud cover 
could strengthen the 'warming trend. 
This would be an example of positive 
feedback, which amplifies a situation 
rather than correcting it.) 

What's more, warmer temperatures 
hasten the breakdown of methane into 
the less damaging C0 2 , a beneficial 
process. But a rise in ocean tempera- 
ture might foster the release of ocean- 
ic meihane into the atmosphere, further 
heating it — another positive-feedback 
event. The warming of the seas would 
also reduce their capacity to absorb 
CO.,, making more trouble for us, since 
the ocean swallows up much of the COj 
we put into the atmosphere now. This 
is balanced, however, by the likelihood 
that the oceans — which are vast ther- 
mal sinks that keep planetary temper- 
atures stable— would absorb much of 
the increase in heat produced by green- 
house effects, thereby minimizing or 
even canceling out any global warming 
that might occur. Similarly, the emerg- 
ence of immense forests in ar- 
eas now too cold for vegetation — partic- 
ularly the Arctic and subarctic tundra — 
might lead to a net planetary gain in the 
amount of C0 2 absorbed during pho- 
tosynthesis. Or the warming of the frig- 
id tundra could release the CO E and 
methane now stored in its soil in the 
form o.f peat, making matters worse. 

Adding to the general perplexity is 
the argument raised by University of 
East Anglia climatologist T. M. Wigley 
in the British scientific journal Nature 
last winter. Wigley points out that the 
burning of fossil fuels releases not only 
the dreaded greenhouse gases, but al- 
so sulfur dioxide particles, or "aerosols," 
which serve to reflect sunlight and mod- 
erate the temperature of the planet. A 
sudden and radical reduction in fossil 
fuel consumption, Wigley maintains, 
would diminish the cooling effect of the 
aerosols that the fossil fuels produce. 
And so a cutback in the use of green- 
house-effect fuels might actually in- 
crease the global warming trend. 

The consequent rise in temperature 
could more than compensate for any 
cooling that a reduction in greenhouse 
gases would create, leaving us in even 
bigger trouble than we might be head- 
ing for otherwise. Rohert Charlson, an 
atmospheric chemist at the University 
of Washington, calls this problem "a 
sleeping giant of a sort" and "some- 
thing that has been missed, and the con- 

sequences are not trivial. It is going to 
complicate matters in setting policy." 

These feedback forces illustrate just 
how tricky the whole problem is, and 
just how uncertain our climatologists re- 
ally are about what is likely to happen. 
Even after two centuries of serious 
study, we have only an approximate un- 
derstanding of the forces that drive our 
climate. In many cases, we are not 
sure which is the cause and which the 
effect. During a 10,000-year warm 
spell in the last ice age, for instance, 
atmospheric C0 2 and methane levels 
were far higher than they were in fhe 
surrounding colder periods. But did 
that increase in greenhouse gases cre- 
ate the warm spell, or was it the other 
way around? No one can say. And a 
study of the Alaskan pe-ma ! >ost conduct- 
ed by the U.S. Geological Survey 
shows a thawing of several degrees in 
the past 100 years but a drop in tem- 
perature of more than a degree for fhe 
period 1984-87 alone. One suggested 
explanation is that the shrinkage of the 
Arctic snow cover during the warming 
period of the Eighties has reduced the 
amount of insulation that the snow pro- 
vides, allowing greater radiation of 
heat from the permafrost. So a warm- 
ing produces a cooling: negative feed- 
back at work again. 

Whether all these intricate process- 
es will cancel each other out, leaving 
our climate more or less unscathed, is 
something that only time is going to 
tell. We are indeed conducting a geo- 
physical experiment with the planet as 
our laboratory, and the outcome is far 
from certain, despite the confidence 
that various theorists express. At the mo- 
ment there are no facts, only specula- 
tions, when we talk about global warm- 
ing. We have had no'experience with 
greenhouse effects from which we can 
predict what's ahead. 

Computer simulations alone won't 
give us the answers, nor are our mete- 
orological records accurate enough 
over a long period of time to provide us 
with a clear view of what has actually 
been going on. Scientists can measure 
C0 2 concentrations in ancient times by 
looking at ice cores brought up from po- 
lar depths, but the weather bureau rec- 
ords of 1850 and 1900 and even 1950 
are statistically unreliable because the 
samplings tended to be too small, and 
the methods of measurement often had 
built-in inaccuracies that make compar- 
isons with today's weather misleading. 
If we aren't sure where we have been, 
how can we be certain about where we 
are going? 

The middle-of-the-road scientific po- 
sition, though, seems to be that some 
climatic warming will happen during the 



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first half of the twenty-first century as a 
result of the changes in the atmosphere 

thai we -have already brought about — 
though it may be a mean increase of 
only a degree or so, rather than the 5° 
to 10° that the most extreme environmen- 
talists are predicting. 

A minor warming of that sort would 
require some local readjustments. Low- 
lying coastal settlements in marginal ar- 
eas where flooding has traditionally 
been a problem might have to be aban- 
doned. Rainfall patterns would proba- 
bly change to some extent, and some 
of today's productive agricultural re- 
gions may experience water shortages. 
Middle-latitude zones might become 
too warm for efficient farming. 

But these negatives would be baJ- 
anced by corresponding positive chang- 
es elsewhere. Vast areas in Canada, 
the Soviet Union, and the northern 
United States, their development now 
hampered by cold weather much of the 
year, would experience a beneficial ac- 
cess of warmth. What farmers in Arkan- 
sas might lose, those in Saskatchewan 
would gain. 

The same with rainfall patterns: Re- 
gions now blighted by chronic drought 
would become fertile. All over the plan- 
et, the increase in C0 2 levels would 
make plant growth more vigorous. 
Seas now blocked by ice much of the 
year would be open to navigation. And 
so forth: not catastrophe but change. 
And we are an adaptable species. 

Part of the problem of knowing wheth- 
er global warming will be good or bad 
is our geophysical ignorance. "We don't 
even know within a factor of ten how 
much total biomass there is on Earth," 
said NASA scientist Gerald Soffen at a 
greenhouse effect discussion at the 
1991 meeting of the American Associ- 
ation for the Advancement of Science. 
"Is life expanding or not? We can't say." 
Another AAAS panelist, botanist Lynn 
Margulis of the University of Massachu- 
setts, added, "We have millions of spe- 
cies, each processing carbon different- 
ly, and we don't understand any of 
them perfectly. If we try to guess how 
life will respond [to global warming] 
we'd really be fools rushing in." 

We should not, of course, rule out the 
possibility that we are indeed heading 
for catastrophic climatic events. But the 
conservative climatologists, who deny 
that these events will be apocalyptic, 
hold that it's unwise to launch crash pro- 
grams of industrial cutback that might 
well have economic consequences for 
many countries far more serious than 
any climatic change that's in the 
cards. We need to wait for further evi- 
dence that a severe global warming is 
actually coming. 

Meanwhile, as we await that further 
evidence, what can we do to ward off 
the worst-case scenarios? One smart 
move would be to try — within the limits 
of economic realities — to reduce indus- 
trial emissions and the use of fossil fu- 
els in general. Not in any- panicky way, 
with visions of the oceans covering our 
coasts and our forests turning into trop- 
ical jungles, but with a calm, clear- 
eyed resolve, based on the understand- 
ing that it's a dumb idea for any crea- 
ture to foul its own nest. The junk we've 
been putting into the atmosphere can't 
possibly do us any good, and there's a 
reasonable chance that it can do us 
great harm. Therefore we should clean 
up our act, not by closing down the fac- 
tories and switching overnight from 
cars to bicycles, but by zeroing in on 
the chief causes of pollution and find- 
ing rational ways of eliminating them, 
and by putting programs of energy con- 
servation into use. 

A halt in the indiscriminate destruc- 
tion of forests in Third World countries 
would help, too. Those trees — the 
lungs of the planet — are one of the 
most powerful climatic moderators we 
have, and once they're gone, implaca- 
ble deserts will replace them; tropical 
soils are surprisingly infertile and under- 
go dismaying changes once their for- 
est cover is stripped away. 

Another wise move would be sys- 
tematic reforestation of areas already 
denuded. It isn't just that trees are pret- 
ty. They soak up C0 2 — a forest the 
size of Alaska would take in a billion 
tons of it a year — and give off oxygen. 
Having them around is a fundamentally 
good idea. 

These conservation measures, none 
of them so stringent that they will un- 
settle any nation's economy, may of 
themselves succeed in stabilizing our 
atmosphere. The worst-case green- 
house world isn't necessarily on the 
way. Prudent planetary housekeeping 
is in order right now. .Hysteria isn't. 

Because even now many of the proc- 
esses that rule our climate are myster- 
ies to us, many scientists are uncom- 
fortable with the recent outcries for rad- 
ical environmental reform. "Whenever 
you try to do this quickly, you run up 
against our ignorance and the quality 
of the data," says Michael Schlesinger, 
a climatologist at the University of Illi- 
nois, and his caution is echoed in many 
other quarters. We have greatly 
changed the face of our planet; but 
whether those changes have set a dev- 
astating climatic change in motion is 
something we simply don't know. For 
once, more studies really are needed. 
What we have to do now is to watch 
and wait. DQ 


interleukin-2. Then the TILs are given 
back to the patient. About forty percent 
of patienls show at least a fifty percent 
reduction in tumor size. Ten percent 
have a complete response; there's no 
evidence of any remaining tumor. 
Omni: For terminal patients, isn't that an 
incredible response? 
Anderson: Yes. But why does the treat- 
ment work tor some and not others? 
Rosenberg needed some way to get a 
handle on what was happening inside 
the body. He needed to know where 
those TILs were going. What they were 
doing. That's where our technology 
could help. We tagged the TILs re- 
moved from the patients with a retrovi- 
ral vector carrying a bacterial gene. 
When those gene-marked cells were re- 
turned to the body, they functioned a 
lot like a radio transmitter attached lo 
a dolphin. We followed the TILs, saw 
how long they lived, where they went. 
It worked beautifully and perhaps has 
helped us to identify a subpopulation 
of lymphocytes more effective in fight- 
ing tumors. These findings may help us 
develop more powerful treatments 
ainst some types of cancer. 

For example, Steve Rosenberg has 
already started treating two patients 
with advanced malignant melanoma by 
infusing TILs that contain the gene for 
tumor necrosis factor, an anticancer 
compound. Although it's too early to 
see any clinical response — we are still 
in the phase one safety trial — these pa- 
tients have shown no toxicity from .the 
gene transfer. Other approaches for us- 
ing gene transfer to treat cancer are 
now being developed. 
Omni: When did you know retroviruses 
would work in gene therapy? 
Anderson: By around 1983, I became 
convinced that they were the way to go. 
It was not a sudden revelation. I'd 
been talking with Ed Scolnick, then at 
NCI, about retroviral vectors since 1979- 
1980. But there were so many appar- 
ent problems with them. By late 1983, 
thanks to the work of Gilboa, Mulligan, 
Verma, Friedmann, Miller, Bernstein, 
and others, I developed a deep instinc- 
tive conviction that retroviral vectors 
could be made to work in human gene 
therapy protocols. 

Retroviruses normally carry genetic 
information into cells; that's how they re- 
produce themselves. They evolved to 
do just that, so they're much more effi- 
cient than microinjection. With retrovirus- 
es we could get into millions of cells in 

one step. I should make it clear that I'm 
not the only person to have this idea. 
But, yes, most of the rest of the world 
thought we would never make it work 
in patients. Of course there were tech- 
nical problems. There always are. But 
to me, the important thing was that I 
knew what ought to be done. 
Omni: Why are you so confident your 
experiments will work? 
Anderson: I've always had that ability. 
My conscious mind isn't so bright. I 
have trouble following lectures unless 
I know something about the subject. 
But when I get really interested in a prob- 
lem, I take in all the information and to- 
tally immerse myself in it. My subcon- 
scious works on it all the time, and soon- 
er or later it comes out. Sometimes I'll 
wake up at three A.M. with the idea for 
an experiment. 
Omni: And it works? 
Anderson: Ninety percent of your "bril- 
liant" ideas don't work the first time. And 
don't work for a long time — the experi- 
ment may drag on for months or years. 
Francis Crick once said if there's a con- 
flici between theory and data, the the- 
ory's more likely to be correct. Most sci- 
entists think just the opposite, but I'm 
more like Crick. If an experiment ought 
to work, I'm convinced it will work, and 
stick with it until it does. 


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I'll tell you something more bizarre. 
Molecules have minds. They can tell if 
you're not comfortable with them, if 
you're not really in control. So they just 
won't work. You have to get inside the 
minds of molecules and master them. 
Sooner or later they will give up and do 
what you want them to. You can try and 
try to noavail. But once you finally get 
the system working, you can drop the 
experiment on the floor, scrape it up, 
and it will still work. 
Omni: How did you see the idea for 
gene therapy so long before the advent 
of genetic engineering technology? 
Anderson: By my junior year in high 
school I was a beady thinking about the 
idea in its broadest outlines. I wrote on 
my application to Harvard that I want- 
ed to study the molecular basis of hu- 
man disease. Nobody even knew what 
a gene was at that stage. By my senior 
year in college, however, we knew 
about this slimy stuff, DNA, that could 
alter the appearance and function of 
bacteria. Working with Julie Marmur, I'd 
irradiate DNA with ultraviolet light, 
causing mutations in the molecule, and 
then introduce it into bacteria. This ex- 
perimental manipulation would often 
change a basic property of the bac- 
. teria. So it occurred to me then: If I can 

change how a bacterium functions by 
giving it new DNA, it ought to be pos- 
sible to use Ihe same strategy to help 
people suffering from hereditary disor- 
ders. I began to study human genetic 
disease at NIH, joining [Nobel laureate] 
Marshall Nirenberg, who was working 
out the final stages of the genetic 
code in E coll When that project was 
completed, I announced. I wanted to 
study hereditary diseases in man. 
Marshall was aghast. So little was 
known about human genetics then, he 
thought I was throwing my career away. 
It was only if you couldn't make it in E. 
coli genetics that you worked on hu- 
mans. But that's what I wanted to do. 
So I said, "If you won't let me do what 
I want to do, I quit." Marshall did his 
best to talk me out of it but finally gave 
in and let me spend fifty percent of my 
time doing human work. 
Omni: What sorts of advances can we 
look forward to in the future? 
Anderson: We're trying to transfer 
genes into other types of human cells: 
hepatocyies [a type of liver cell]: endo- 
thelial cells [lining blood vessels and the 
heart]: and bone marrow stem cells. A 
host of potential applications could 
come out of this work. Endothelial cells 
are especially attractive targets be- 

cause any protein produced by them 
will be secreted directly into the blood- 
stream. One protein we'd like these 
cells to produce is the anticlotting fac- 
tor TPA [tissue plasminogen activator]. 
When a clogged or injured blood, ves- 
sel needs to be replaced, doctors will 
graft in an artificial vessel. About three 
hundred thousand grafts are performed 
yearly in the United States, and one hun- 
dred thousand of them fail because a 
clot forms in the artificial vessel. David 
Dichek in my lab p'lans to line the artifi- 
cial vessel with endothelial cells that 
have been genetically manipulated to 
produce TPA. We've done it with rab- 
bit cells, and others have been success- 
ful with pigs and dogs. Bui the cells 
tend to wash off after a couple of 
days. When we find a better way to an- 
chor them, these techniques will im- 
prove the success of blood-vessel 
grafts in humans. 

We also hope to engineer insulin- 
producing cells for the diabetic, or an- 
titumor agents for the cancer patient. Per- 
haps someday we might genetically en- 
gineer cells to produce neurochemicals 
needed by psychiatric patients. 
Omni: So gene transfer could provide 
a new drug delivery system? 
Anderson: Yes. Drug companies now 
churn out millions of vials of drugs with 
half-lives of minutes or hours. Some 
must be injected several times a day or 
week. Today even diabetics who close- 
ly monitor their blood sugar levels still 
suffer debilitating problems, such as the 
retinopathy leading to blindness. Per- 
haps they can't regulate the drug dos- 
age closely enough. By transferring a 
properly regulated gene for insulin into 
the B cells of the pancreas, we might 
avoid such serious complications. We 
hope to get the body to manufacture 
and release the appropriate amount of 
insulin at the appropriate time — the way 
a healthy body does. Within twenty 
years gene transfer techniques will 
give us another drug delivery vehicle. 
Omni: Could gene therapy transform us 
into a new species? 
Anderson: No. We have a hundred thou- 
sand genes, and even after the Human 
Genome Project is completed, all we'll 
know is the sequence of these genes. 
We won't know what they do in the 
body; at what stage in our life cycle the 
gene is expressed; or how one gene in- 
teracts with others. The total amount of 
information contained in the human 
genome is truly overwhelming. Compar- 
ing that knowledge to an ocean, all 
we're doing is scooping water out of a 
tiny lagoon. And with each scoop, the. 
inlet fills up with more water. The idea 
of creating a new species of human any- 
time in the next century is about as like- 







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ly as traveling at warp speed :c a gal- 
axy millions of light-years away. 
Omni: If ninety-eight percent of our 
DNA matches the chimpanzee's, per- 
haps you'd have to change only a few 
genes to transform the species. 
Anderson: That's misleading. That fig- 
ure is based on how much of our DNA 
vvi I bind to. or "hybridiza" with a comple- 
mentary strand of DMA from a chimp". 
If you actually look at the bases [the ba- 
sic components of the genetic code], 
only about seventy percent of our DMA 
exactly matches the sequence of a 
chimp. We probably differ by twenty to 
eighty million base pairs. That's an 
enormous difference when you consid- 
er that gene therapy usually involves the 
correction of only one or two genes, or 
what amounts to a few thousand base 

Omni: Still, by introducing extra copies 
of those genes that possibly encode for 
enzymes that repair damage done to 
DNA as we age, couldn't we, say, dou- 
ble our life spans? 

Anderson: You're not talking about cre- 
ating a new species now. The scenar- 
io you're presenting is more than pos- 
sible — it very well may happen over the 
next hundred years. 
Omni: Would it be ethical to alter our 
genetic endowment to live one hundred 
and fifty years? 

Anderson: No, because society isn't 
ready to handle the problems that this 
development would engender. As it is, 
we can barely care properly for people 
living into their eighties or nineties. Al- 
so, a gene thai expands our life span 
may have twenty other detrimental ef- 
fects. These individuals may live long- 
er — but might be worse off in terms of 
their vigor, health, intelligence, memo- 
ry, and so on. Say, parents of short chil- 
dren might want their offspring to re- 
ceive the gene for human growth 
hormone so they could become basket- 
ball stars. But who knows what prob- 
lems that might cause later in life? 

Let's say, however, that our knowl- 
edge progresses to the point that we 
can safely expand the human life 
span, or make kids taller, or who 
knows. Maybe someone will discover a 
gene coding for a neurochemical that 
enhances memory. Then there's the 
whole issue of equality: Who gets the 
gene? Who decides who qualifies? And 
by what criteria? Do we give the mem- 
ory-booster gene to mentally retarded 
children, because they need it the 
most? Do we give it to smart kids, who 
could make the most use of it? Who de- 
serves to live longer? Be taller? Our so- 
ciety has no answers. I don't think we 
should use a powerful technology just 
because it exists. 



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Omni: Once the technology exists, 
won't there always be genetic doctors 
who'll perform surgery for the right tee? 
Anderson: Yes, based on what we 
know is a thriving black market for ster- 
oids among athletes. 
Omni: We have cosmetic surgery, and 
a system for deciding who gets it — 
namely, money. Why is this different? 
Anderson: It's considerably more funda- 
mental, something lhat strikes at the 
core of who we are. Surgery on the 
breasts or face is very superficial in the 
real sense of the word. Why doesn't 
society permit Olympic athletes to take 
steroids if what we want is people who 
can jump higher, run faster, lift more 
weights? The reason is only partly be- 
cause of the dangerous long-term 
health consequences. Steroids give peo- 
ple an unfair advantage. 
Omni: What could be more unfair than 
our genetic endowment at birth? 
Anderson: True. And society quite legiti- 
mately is concerned that the richest, 
most powerful, most famous, will get the 
good genes first. Elite groups could be- 
come even smarter, better looking, and 
richer than people disadvantaged 
from day one. That's why society is 
more comfortable with the idea of offer- 
ing genetic surgery to individuals who, 

through no fault of their own, suffer 
from severe diseases. Then it is morally 
justifiable to at least try to bring them 
up to a minimum level of quality of life. 
To take an acceptable quality of life and 
try to enhance it would be more disrup- 
tive to society than beneficial. 
Omni: Would it be ethical if we could 
boost everyone's intelligence or life 
span or physical prowess through 
gene transfer? 

Anderson: Yes. If it turned out everyone 
could have a marvelous quality of life 
for one hundred and fifty years, then 
everybody ought to have it. But now 
we're getting into the argument of how 
many angels can stand on the head of 
a pin— because for the next fifty years 
it's not going to be possible to geneti- 
cally engineer the whole population. 
Omni: How do you decide what consti- 
tutes a disease? How short is too 
short? How fat is too fat? 
Anderson: You start out with severe cas- 
es: the child who'd grow up to be un- 
der three feet tall. If the procedure 
proves safe and effective, then you 
would gradually extend treatment to 
people with less serious conditions. 
Until gene therapy is well accepted by 
society, we should err on the side of be- 
ing too conservative and restrict treat- 

ment to the most medically needy. 
Omni: Might a future generation view 
gene therapy like cosmetic surgery? 
Anderson: If we continue to destroy our 
ozone layer and pollute the environment 
with toxins and carcinogens, everybody 
may need ge'ne therapy in another thou- 
sand years — extra genes for DNA ropai" 
enzymes to protect against harmful ra- 
diation from the sun, extra genes to 
boost the number of liver enzymes that 
can detoxify dangerous compounds. A 
New Yorker cartoon shows a spokes- 
man outside a nuclear reactor saying 
to a TV crew, "Not to worry. The genet- 
ic damage caused by the nuclear ac- 
cident can be corrected by genetic en- 
gineering." I hope that day never 
comes to pass, but one cannot be 
encouraged by how we're handling our 
environment now. What happens with 
gene therapy in the long run depends 
on the risk-benefit ratio to society. But 
what society does five hundred years 
from now is not for us to decide. 
They wouldn't care what we have to say 
any more than we care what people in 
1600 thought about how we should 
spend our lives. Ethics, after all, is con- 
textual. To a future society, gene ther- 
apy may not only be acceptable— it 
may be essential for its survival. DO 



The author of 

ing COM- 
PUTED Guide 


each game's 
features, chal- 
lenge, and 
and includes actual play- 
ing screens so you can 
find out about the best 

you buy. Also 
includes strat- 
egies and su- 
per secrets to 
boost your 
scores. Sneak 
peeks at fu- 
ture games 
let you see 
what's under develop- 
ment. Includes 33 reviews 
and over 60 screen shots. 



_ Subtotal 

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add 7% goods and services tax.) 

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□ Check or Money Orde 



Exp. Dale 


MAIL TD Compute Hooks 

c/o CCC 

2500 Medullar Avenue 
, HJ OS 109 




woman is mast likely 
to conceive a boy 
or a girl, based en her 
menstrual cycle. 
Cost: $69.95. Con- 
tact: Fidelity Elec- 
tronics, Miami, FL; 
(305] 597-1500. 

Less than two inches 
high, the LT-20 
printer fits comfort- 
ably beneath a 
laptop computer. 
Cost: $499. 
Contact: Seikosha 
America, Mahwah, 
NJ; (800) 338- 


The floating Solaris 
sundial also 
acts as a compass. 
Costt $34.95. 
Contact: Sarut, New 
York, NT; 
(800) 345-6404. 


The CDTV interactive 
multimedia player 
uses yewr television 
to present the audio, 
video, text, and 
animated graphics 
stored on CDs. You de- 
tide what Infor- 
mation you want and 
how to display it. 
Cost: $999. Contact: 
Commodore, Win- 
chester, PA; 
(800) 468-2388. 


The Interpre- 
ter speaks 65,000 
phrases in five 

Cost: $249.95. Can- 
tact: British Boston, 
Lewlsten, ME; 
(207) 782-0142. 


■ml S S S l : ■■'■"■! 


Anyone can compose 
music with the 
QY 10 hand-held se- 
quencer by creat- 
ing a melody and se- 
lecting a rhythm 
and appropriate In- 
struments. Cost: 
$399. Contact: Yama- 
ha, Buana Park, CA; 

video BAnnes 

Nintendo may be the superpower, but 
competition's on the horizon 

Anyone who still needs proof that inter- 
active entertainment has reached mass- 
market proportions should watch for 
the new game systems hitting stores 
this fall. It will be the most 
intense competition it 
video game history. 

Picking up the ban- 
ner from the veteran 
Nintendo Entertain- 
ment System, Ninten- 
do's 16-bit SFX is the 
bruiser to beat in the 
hardware wars, with 
improved animation, 
more color, more ac- 
tion, and most of all, ex- 
traordinary music and 
sound effects. To make 
consumers bite, Nintendo is 
baiting the 16-bit SFX with the fourth game in its incredi- 
bly successful Mario Brothers series. SupQr Mario World 
is the best Mario yet, with eight worlds arid 70 levels in 
a four-megabit cartridge. The SFX's most potent challeng- 
er, Sega's 16-bit Genesis, is hitting its audiovisual matu- 
rity. New Genesis triumphs — like the action-filled but non- 
violent Mickey Mouse Castle of illusion and Sword of Ver- 
miliorr.a graphically outstanding role-playing game— are 
among the best video games available. A hot group of 
upcoming Sega releases includes a lavishly illustrated 
game based on Walt Disney's Fantasia and a quirky ac- 
tion game featuring the. unlikely character of Sonic the 
Hedgehog. It will be some time before SFX titles, can 
match the polish and flair of the latest Genesis winners, 

The third-place contender seems to be NEC's Tur- 
boGrafx-16; For arcade action games, the 8- and 16-bit 
TurboGrafx surpassed Genesis throughout 1990. But. im- 
provements in Genesis programming have blunted Tur- 
boGrafx's lead in swift animation and arcade challenge. 
TurboGrafx, however, still carries a punch with its large 
and varied game library, as well as the only CD-ROM play- 
er yet available for a video game system, planting it se- 
curely in the multimedia future of interactive entertainment. 
The growing number of TurboGrafx CDs includes the run- 
and-shoot variety of Valis II. One upcoming NEC CD fea- 
tures an interactive Sherlock Holmes mystery using real 
actors, spoken dialogue, and true whodunit deduction. 
Other forthcoming CDs include Wanderers of Ys, the se- 
quel to Omni's 1990 choice for best role-playing game, 

3 such as Magical 

SNK's Neo-Geo offers arcade-quality 
games that are literally clones of their 
quarter- gob bier arcade ver- 
sions. The challenge of 
Neo-Geo, however, goes 
beyond your joystick and 
deep into your wallet, self- 
ing-for-more than $600, 
with a single game and 
new game cartridges 
costing nearly $200. 

The hardware wars 
will also mount a battle 
royal in your hand as sev- 
eral portable game sys- 
ems punch it out. Game 
Boy still rules the market- 
place with a sizable catalog of 
games and its less-than-$1 00 price tag. But the compe- 
tition hopes that players will grow impatient with Game. 
Boy's dim, hard-to-see black-and-white screen display and 
variable-quality games, A recent cartridge blitz from 
Atari, for example, has given Lynx owners a hefty choice 
of excellent games. (Check out the arcade authenticity 
of Rygar and the addictive puzzlement of Tengen's- Trax, 
another Omni winner for 1990.) At the Winter Consumer 
Electronics Show, Atari also promised a redesigned 
Lynx with smaller proportions and a cost of less than $100. 
At the high end of the spectrum, the NEC TurboExpress 
holds court as the Porsche of hand-held games. The NEC 
portable still has the brightest, most eye-pleasing color 
screen display and, since it uses the same. cartridges as 
the full-size TurboGrafx, the best portable games. But 
those boasts are diluted by the price of nearly $250. 

This- summer Sega is scheduled to introduce Game 
Gear, costing less than £130. This portable system uses 
a color screen display similar to that of the Lynx but will 
also offer the TV tuner option (which converts the game 
system into a- portable TV receiver) previously available 
only to TurboExpress owners. The shortcoming: Game 
Gear requires its own cartridges and is not compatible 
with either the Sega Genesis or the Sega Master System. 
Never before have so many viable game systems gone 
head to head for the hearts and hands of players. It's go- 
ing to be a tremendous fall season for the. choosy gam- 
er, and an expensive one for those of us who want it all. 



A convention of unconventional brain teasers 

By Scot Morris 

You may have a Ftubik's 
Cube or two collecting dust 
in the closet, perhaps 
alongside a Pyraminx or 
a wooden barrel that comes 
apart into a dozen piec- 
es. But they won't get you an 
invitation to the Puzzle 
Collectors' Party, where 
people with only 500 puzzles 
might call themselves 
"small" collectors. (Jerry 
Slocum, the party's organiz- 
er and host, owns more 
than" 17,500.) Guests have 
presented not only selec- 
tions from antique puzzle 
collections, but also 
such new puzzles as -the 

Moody Ball, Oskar's Cube, 

and Puzzlecal. 

During the three-day 
party, guests shared their 
iove of games, thriving 
on the complexity, discov- 
ery, and surprise found 
in puzzles, illusions, and 
magic. These collectors 
value mechanical puzzles, 
the kind you manipulate with 
your hands and solve 
through reasoning, insight, 
luck, and dexterity. For 
example, the object of 
Escape from Alcatraz, Ed- 
ward Hodern's. diabolical 
ball-in-cage, is to remove a 
steel ball from a tiny Wooden 
cell that has only six bars. 

Sometimes you simply 
have to use your head to 
figure out "impossible ob- 
jects" that seem to defy 
explanation, like Mob Yoshi- 
gahara's wooden arrow 
thrciion a Chinese coin, or 
Harry Eng's tennis shoe in a 
cider bottle, or ihe Toyo 
Glass Company's one-of-a- 
kind 22-pound slab of 

granite with a wooden arrow 
through its middle. 

The puzzle party presents 
the perfect opportunity to 
showcase ideas that haven't 
yet made it to the American 
market. Gerd Braun, for 
example, came from Ger- 
many with a spherical 
puzzle he calls ihe Moody 
Ball. In a iwisi on an' idea 
that came from Hong Kong 
last year, the Moody Ball has 
12 frowning faces. The 
object: Twisi the segmented 
ball and find the one 
position, oui of more than 
100 million possibilities, in 
which all faces are smiling. 
Oskar's Cube came from 
Oskar van Deventer of the 
Netherlands. Here a maze is 
cut into each side of a 
hollow black plastic cube. A 
crossbeam inside has six 
arms, with one arm 
protruding through each of 
the mazes. The object: 
Manipulate the crossbeam 
arms through the mazes and 
visualize the invisible three- 
dimensional paih the 
crossbeam's center 
must follow. 
The task actual- 
ly requires you 
solve three 
From To- 
kyo, Puzzle- 
cal is a remark- 
able calculator 
with a key- 

of multi- 
squares. Af- 
ter perform- 
ing a simple divi- 
problem on 
■ the calculator, inven- 
tor Yoshiyuki Kotani 
told me to look at the 

instructions on the bottom. 
When I turned the calculator 
oven al! the keys fell 
out. Although Kotani re- 
placed them in random 
order, the calculator still 
worked. It turns out that the 
back side of each key is 
encoded so that no matter 
where it's placed, the 4, for 
example, still works as a 4 
and the + still funclions as a 
+. When the 9 is inserted 
upside down, however, it 
registers as a 6, and when 
the 1 is turned on its side it 
becomes a minus sign. 

In addition to its granite 
slab, Toyo's impossible 
puzzles include the Arrow- 
th rough -bottle, which 
resembles the bottle show- 
cased in the April 1984 
Games coiumn. But ihe hole 
through ihe center of Toyo's 
bottle is a sealed tube, 
so ihe bottle still holds liquid 
without leaking. 

After disassembling and 
reassembling compli- 
cated objecis, however, 
some of the most last- 
ing memories involve simple 
things like a Cheshire cat 
coffee mug that Tom 
Rodgers of Atlanta gave me. 
Fill it with hot liquid and 
the blue cat disappears, 
leaving only its red smile. Or 
ihe name Peggy Babcock, a 
surprisingly difficult iongue 
twister from Mark Settedu- 
caii of New York. 

Attendance at ihe Puzzle 
Collectors' Party is by 
invitation only, and a 
record-breaking 150 puzzle 
collectors arrived for this 
year's party. If you ihinkyour 
collection rnighi qualify 
you for an invitation, contact 
Jerry Slocum, Box 1635, 
Beverly Hills, CA 90213. DO 










RALPH ROBERTS s ™f 2 rs -, c °« r ^*' 

-- - - - - E L ;, — f p . M Strike Eagle and F- 

nl'llM.ir mater ana oafansr ^ a S le "■ VOU'll perfO 

thought possible. Filled w 
— — - — step-bv 

■ diagrams. ll<\ \ 

Written with the help of the creator and designer of Leisure 

Suite Larry, this best-selling book covers Larry I, II, and III. 

Packed full of all the hints and tips any Larry enthusiast could 

want. This official book also includes Larry's life story, 

an exclusive interview with Larry Laffer, and some candid 

comments from Larry's women. 228 pages 

1 1 l_l I want more hints and tips. 

I* Please send me the books checked below. 

D The Official Book of Leisure Suit Larry (215X) $12.95 

D The Official F-15 Strike Eagle Handbook (2311) S12.95 

D The Official F-19 Stealth Fighter Handbook (2176) S14.95 

□ The Official Book of Ultima (2281) $14.95 

D Turn S Burn: The Authoritative Guide to Falcon (1978} S12.95 

D Check 

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_ Shipping and ItoUfnfS S2 U.S. a 
_ Total Enclosed 

■ f\ f—'—y 1 ■ rf% |g— fcMMIIfcM— fc 


Radio signals wreak havoc on an unsuspecting public 

By Stan Sinberg 

around with a 


dish to make 

outer space. 

^^^sk a creative person like 
#«A Robin Williams or Isaac 
m %Asimov, "Where do 
you get your ideas?" and he al- 
most always replies, "I don't 
know" or "From everywhere" or 
something equally vague. Al- 
though this is an intelligent an- 
swer — after all, why should he 
tell you? — it's not the truth, 

I'm going to tell you the truth. 
Not only do I know the source of 
ideas, but I can tell you where al- 
most all thoughts originate. Not on- 
ly thoughts either, but also why 
sometimes when you are walking 
down the street you suddenly 
find yourself humming some old 
song you haven't thought about 
for years and may not even like.' 
Even worse, you can't get it out 
of your mind. 

Inventing, say, a new cheese 
and humming a Barry Manilow 
song might seem like pretty dif- 
ferent phenomena, but they both 
come from the same place: ren- 
egade radio waves. 

Scientists have been telling us 
for years that radio waves don't 
disappear; they just keep drifting 

ilization. This has always been con- 
sidered positive because it en- 
sures that singers like Janet Jack- 
son will still be stars 10 million 
years from now, although per- 
haps in another galaxy. 

But because of factors like tall 
skyscrapers and pollution, a fair 
amount of radio waves are 
trapped here on Earth, just float- 
ing around the atmosphere wait- 
ing io be picked up by unsuspeci- 
ing passersby. Radio waves en- 
ter through your ears, hook up to 
your "idea center," and the next 
thing you know, you're thinking 
the thought. 

The logjam of renegade radio, 
waves explains a lot of things. 
Why do two people often invent 
the same gadget or come up 
with the same joke simulta- 
neously? Because the idea for 
the invention is floating around 
some cigar store until two inven- 
tor types tune in to it. 

People walking around the city 
talking to themselves aren't cra- 
zy, as you might suspect. Rath- 
er, they're walking radio receiv- 
ers. That's why they'll carry on an 
animated conversation with them- 
selves one minute and break in- 
to song the next. 

Speaking of songs, the tune 
"Doo Wan Diddy" is legendary for 
floating around street corners wait- 
ing to leap into innocent minds 
and compel people to sing. Ha- 
ven't you ever wondered why al- 
most everybody has hummed it, 
though most people think 
's an asinine tune? 

Renegade radio waves 

even solve 

one of 

the big- 


of recent 

years; what the 

heck the guys who 

attacked Dan Rath- 

er meant when they said, "Ken- 
neth, what is the frequency?" 
They were trying to tune in to 
Dan's brain waves so that they 
could send messages directly to 
him while he was reading the 
news, forcing him to alter his 
broadcast and thus influence 
America's thinking on an issue. 
Pretty insidious, indeed. Fortunate- 
ly for us, Dan fought them off. 

People in big cities seem to 
get many more ideas than folks 
in, say, Nebraska, because plac- 
es like New York are beset with 
constant barrages of renegade ra- 
dio waves. Sometimes innocent 
bystanders are hit by two very dif- 
ferent waves at the same time, 
causing people in New York to 
get weird ideas like charging $20 
for a plate of spaghetti, which is 
okay if you call it pasta. 

People out in the boonies, how- 
ever, have to sit around a long 
time before they're hit with inspi- 
ration — that is, a random radio 
wave — and then it might be 
something like The Archies sing- 
ing "Sugar, Sugar," That's why 
most creative people move to cit- 
ies, although they don't know it. 

Psychiatrists have suspected 
this business about floating radio 
waves for a long time. That's the 
main reason' most of them 
stopped having their patients free- 
associate. A recent study found 
that rather than tapping into their 
subconscious, many patients 
were merely picking up the ide- 
as of the person who was pre- 
viously in the room. 

As a writer, I've trained my 
mind to be empty most of the 
time, in order to receive stray 
ideas. When one strikes, I imme- 
diately stop whatever I'm doing 
(usually nothing) and do a piece 
about it, before another writer on 
the same frequency picks it up 
and accuses me of getting the 
idea from him. Which, come to 
think of it, maybe I did. DO